“Hey Jute” – Alexander Marinus puts raw fibers on center stage
Jute has long been condemned to play second fiddle. Until now, the world's second most common textile fiber has served for things like carpet backings or as a raw ingredient for linoleum. But now, Belgian designer Alexander Marinus is committed to bringing jute out in a big way. As the Beatles once intoned in their hit song "Hey Jude": "You're waiting for someone to perform with" – that was the inspiration for Marinus, who wants to be the one to "perform with Jute" at DOMOTEX 2020.8 Nov. 2019
Even though jute is the second most common textile fiber in the world, we are still far from realizing the full potential of this material – and, what’s worse: our industrial and chemical treatment processes are destroying the positive natural properties of this otherwise ecological material, only to waste it by using it for profane consumer goods like potato sacks.
Many uses for jute
Marinus is employing his "Hey Jute" project to popularize the advantages of the raw fiber, which grows in strands of two to five meters in length and is extremely resilient. The aim of the Belgian designer is to maintain the strength and length of the raw fiber by treating it using alternative methods, based on tools and working processes developed in collaboration with artists and craftspeople. At DOMOTEX 2020, Marinus is committed to radically changing the perception and thus appreciation of the jute natural fiber. "It is basically quite simple," he says: "We simply need to use the original properties of the jute fibers in their purest state!" Marinus has discovered, for example, that the material is perfectly suited for needle punching due to its long fibers. The more he processed it with his own self-developed tool, the more attractive the felt became. At the end of the process, a remarkable fur structure was created.
Sustainable at many levels
Jute is slated to play a special role in the context of the lead theme ATMYSHPERE and the associated concept of sustainability. The material is a clever answer to the increasingly urgent need for renewable, reusable raw materials that require no chemical treatment or intensive irrigation, fertilization or insecticide for their cultivation. In addition, high-quality jute production can pay off for economically weak producer nations, thus helping reduce or eliminate economic dependence. "Hey Jute" at DOMOTEX 2020 will tell about the first steps towards a fair industrial production process as well as the search for the "perfect recipe", with Marinus enjoying the support of the artist and felt specialist Marian Verdonk from the city of Breda as well as the upholstery studio Unica Brussels.
Many questions are left unanswered: What countries and producers will be the suppliers of the raw material? Where will the felt be processed? And what criteria will the manufacturing process and end product need to satisfy? Questions to which Marinus will perhaps find valuable answers during DOMOTEX 2020 in cooperation with the international community gathered there. After all, it's time for an ecological and fair-trade textile which, whether used as an upholstery, wall covering or floor covering, is set to become a strong player in the world of interior textiles. Marinus is currently getting the Bangladeshi government on board. And the long-established jute industry is also showing increasing interest in his "Hey Jute" project. "Call me crazy," jokes Marinus, "but jute is the future!"
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