Windworks to produce furniture

by: Mirjam Visser, 2013-06-10 08:57:04 UTC
Sustainability Aspects: The chairs and benches are 100% made with wind energy and the use of the old windmills. The wood is sawn, the pigments ground by the old mills. The wool is twisted and knitted with wind energy. The size of the cushions is a measure for the amount of wind

The Story

Windworks collection

Windworks can be seen as an urban factory, using wind as its main source of energy. According to Merel Karhof there is an important element missing in the discussion around free sources of energy as she explains the idea behind her project as follows: ‘’Everyone is talking about green energy, but nobody knows what that means, how much wind energy do you need to make a scarf? In this project I have visualised the wind, and what it can produce.”

Windworks is a collection of upholstered furniture pieces, of which the wood, upholstery, dyeing and knitting of the yarn are all made with a free and inexhaustible energy source; the wind and the use of historic windmills.

To create a collection of furniture, ‘Wind Knitting factory’ designer Merel Karhof initiated a collaboration between three millers: a saw miller, a colour miller and a knitting miller (Karhof herself). The Zaanse Schans is an area located on the river ‘Zaan’ in the province of Noord Holland and is home to a collection of well-preserved historic windmills. Each one of these produces a different kind of raw material. There is a colour mill called ‘De Kat’ (the Cat), which has been fitted out to grind colouring materials, as well as a sawmill called ‘Het Jonge Schaap’ (the Young Sheep), that saws planks from trees to old Dutch measurements.

For the occasion of this collaboration, Karhof designed a series of furniture pieces. The wood will be sawn by the wind and assembled at the sawmill; from there it will be transported by water to the pigment mill. Here yarn will be dyed with natural dyes, grounded by the colour mill. After the dyeing process, the ‘Wind Knitting Factory’ (an modern edition of a windmill designed by Merel that incorporates a new feature; a pennon, that gives the machine the facility to turn away from the wind when the speed gets too high, therefore allowing it to operate independently.) knits the yarns, and with each harvest, the wood structures will be upholstered.

Finally, the upholstery is constructed from little pillows, each representing the amount of time needed by the wind to make it. The result will thus give an insight into how much time is needed to produce the upholstery.

Windworks shows a production triptych between three windmills and it makes visible what can be produced with wind power. It shows how windmills working together can become a complete and holistic industry. Have a look at the little movie

Product: Furniture, wood, wool
Designer: Merel Karhof
Manufacturer: Windmill's Het Jonge Schaap, De Kat
Category: Renewable energy and awareness


At the Zaanse Schans
Windworks collection
At the Zaanse Schans
production Windworks by Merel Karhof

Comments by our Users

Be the first to write a comment for this item.


@ D4S, a platform by designers for designers, sharing ideas and knowledge on sustainable design
Learn more |  Leave Feedback
We are not-for-profit and want a trustworthy, independent site without advertisements.

If you like to use D4S please donate to enable us to pay hosting fees and extend the site. Thank you for your support!
Join us on LinkedIn