May design news: a car that runs on plastic, food art and the history of the Paralympic Games | Life and style

In this month’s design news, you can learn how how to make bees out of sushi, bricks out of stone and how to make a car that runs on waste plastic.

A canine visitor to Clerkenwell Design Week 2024 enjoys a drink at the Brick From a Stone installation. Photograph: Ivan Jones

An installation at this year’s Clerkenwell Design Week in London could shake the foundations of the building industry. Brick From A Stone, designed by architectural practice Artefact, is built from bricks made out of waste stone instead of the standard clay. The two British companies Albion Stone and Hutton Stone have invested in cutting-edge machinery that makes these bricks, which have about a quarter of the carbon footprint of traditional bricks.

Though steel and concrete have become ubiquitous, stone is increasingly recognised as a stronger, more recyclable, and lower-carbon alternative. According to the World Green Building Council, the construction sector is responsible for almost 40% of global, energy-related carbon emissions – 28% from operational needs such as heating, air-con, lighting and 11% from extraction, manufacture and transportation of materials as well as building.

Albion and Hutton both intend to bring stone bricks to market this year. Hopefully leading to new builds with the oldest materials available.

The Plastic Car (Is Made of Metal) by Gijs Schalkx. Photograph: Gijs Schalkx

If you worry about road pollution, then Dutch designer Gijs Schalkx’s Plastic Car (Is Made of Metal) may give you palpitations. For this research project Schalkx found an old banger of a Volvo in a German junkyard and gave it a unique customisation. The Plastic Car has a ‘de-refinery’ on its roof, a device that turns heated waste plastic back into liquid oil, which is then used as vehicle fuel.

This may sound like a recycler’s dream, but Schalkx’s car is scruffy, rusty and, by all accounts, really stinks. The belch of exhaust fumes as it lurches forward is also something to see. But, for Schalkx, sustainable design should focus on DIY manufacturing and repurposing or recycling resources, which the Plastic Car certainly does. In the six months that he drove the car, he’s used household waste plastic as fuel.

“At the beginning,” says Schalkx, “I just thought it would be great to investigate if I could build my own car and figure out a source of fuel so I could drive some meaningful distances.”

What his vehicle also does is combine infrastructure and product, which he says gave him an interesting perspective on desire and consequences. “Every time I wanted to drive, I have to question: is it worth the time and effort needed to collect fuel and is the pollution I produce worth the drive? Rather than outsourcing this to other parts of the world, I did it myself.”

See Schalkx’s video of his project on YouTube

A scene from the Paralympics Games in Seoul in 1988. Photograph: Collections Musée National du Sport – France

Though the world focus is currently on the upcoming Olympic Games in France, a new exhibition at Paris’s Panthéon is also set to pay tribute to the paralympic movement and the fascinating history of these inclusive sports events. The first “hospital” games were held at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the UK to promote rehabilitative sport. The sports day archery competition was held on 29 July 1948, the opening day of the London Olympic Games. Over the decades, more countries joined in the Stoke Games, with the London 2012 Games marking a huge increase in the coverage and prestige of the Paralympic Games.

Posters, photographs, modified sports equipment, and memorabilia in this exhibition tell the remarkable story of these athletes and their fight for recognition of their extraordinary talents.

“The Paralympic movement is changing the way we think about disability,” says Pierre-Olaf Schut, professor of sports history and scientific adviser to the exhibition. “The exhibition is designed to showcase the sports leaders who have shaped the movement, the repercussions of which have been felt way beyond the competitive sporting arena”.

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Paralympic History from Integration in Sport to Social Inclusion is at the Panthéon from 11 June – 28 September. The Paralympic Games are held 28 August – 8 September


Nike’s coat/tent hybrid

The Nike Metamorph Poncho from the ISPA collection. Photograph: Nike

As summer festival season approaches, Nike may have the answer to your weather and accommodation needs. The sportswear brand has designed the Metarmorph Poncho, a waterproof zip-up cape which transforms into a tent. To turn your raincoat into your sleeping quarters, lay the poncho on the ground and then simply use the collapsible poles contained in the back pocket.

The tent is part of the Nike ISPA collection. The acronym stands for Improvise. Scavenge. Protect. Adapt. Experimental items from the range include a coat that can be disassembled to become a vest and a jacket and the Universal shoe – a hybrid of the Air Max 270, the Zoom Type and the Solarsoft HTM made from replaceable parts and zero glue.

The Metamorph Poncho is made from at least 75% recycled plastic fibres. So as you curl up in your tiny tent at this year’s Glastonbury festival, you can rest assured that you’re doing some good for the planet.

Goldfish Cheese Crackers created by Celine Rousseau. Photograph: © Celine Rousseau

The line between art and lunch has become ever thinner in recent years. Food now looks like sculptures – or flower beds or, sometimes, just completely unhinged – as food stylists and bakers take full creative licence. For some of the best examples of modern food art, head to Instagram and check out Yip Studio or Cakes for No Occasion or Balbosté Paris. If you want to try this edible art yourself, popular food blogger Celine Rousseau has released a cookbook which gives you the opportunity to try to recreate her beautiful nature-inspired food at home.

Rousseau lived in Asia, America and Europe as she grew up and says that sampling local cuisines helped her learn about different cultures. Taking cookery lessons and studying wine gave her the practical skills to bring her delicate creations to life. Themed as no other recipe book ever has been around categories such as “bee” or “cherry blossom”, Rousseau’s recipes – from Korean, Italian, French and Japanese cuisine – include miso butter “bees” and “forest mushroom” meringues and taste as good as they look. In her introduction, Rousseau says the best recipe is one that you and your loved ones enjoy. With her help, they can also be shaped like cherries or fallen autumn leaves.

La Table by Celine by Celine Rousseau (Prestel) is out 4 June

This month’s design news features innovative creations such as sushi bees, stone bricks, and a car that runs on waste plastic. At Clerkenwell Design Week, an installation called Brick From A Stone showcases bricks made from waste stone, with a lower carbon footprint than traditional bricks. Albion Stone and Hutton Stone are bringing these stone bricks to market, offering a sustainable alternative for new builds.

Dutch designer Gijs Schalkx’s Plastic Car (Is Made of Metal) is a unique project that converts waste plastic into fuel for a car, combining sustainability with DIY manufacturing. Despite its scruffy appearance and strong odor, the car demonstrates the potential for repurposing resources and reducing environmental impact.

The Paralympics movement is celebrated in a new exhibition at Paris’s Panthéon, highlighting the history and impact of inclusive sports events. From its origins at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the UK to the global recognition of the Paralympic Games, the exhibition honors the athletes and advocates who have shaped the movement.

Nike’s Metamorph Poncho from the ISPA collection offers festival-goers a versatile solution for weather protection and accommodation. Made from recycled plastic fibers, the poncho transforms into a tent, reflecting Nike’s commitment to sustainability and innovation.

Food art has taken Instagram by storm, with creations like Goldfish Cheese Crackers by Celine Rousseau blurring the line between art and cuisine. Rousseau’s cookbook, La Table by Celine, offers a glimpse into her nature-inspired recipes, combining flavors from around the world with visually stunning presentations.