Recycled avocado seeds become award-winning homewares

Ground avocado seeds form the basis of an award-winning resin fruitbowl, one of almost 200 art works featured in this year’s A&D ANNUAL, UNSW Art & Design’s exhibition of graduate work.

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Original Seed by Madeleine Dennis

Ground avocado seeds form the basis of an award-winning resin fruitbowl, one of almost 200 art works featured in this year’s A&D ANNUAL, UNSW Art & Design’s exhibition of graduate work.

Madeleine Dennis’s origami-inspired ‘Original Seed’ fruitbowl combines flair with functionality, using geometric shelves to separate individual pieces of fruit for maximum freshness.

Ground-down avocado seeds are mixed with a biodegradable resin to give the bowl its unique hue and texture.

“I have always been interested in sustainable design. Instead of designing brand new products why not create using what we have access to?”

Dennis won best Product Innovation at this year’s International Green Interior Awards for the bowl design, beating established Australian designers like Admonter and Dylan Falecki.

Dennis created ‘Original Seed’ as part of her final-year Bachelor of Design project that focused on designs with social impact.

“I had three aims – to create a seasonal object, design a product for the home and to use waste to craft something ornamental,” she said.

“I wanted to make something to demonstrate that the things we needlessly throw away can be repurposed into something useful and beautiful.”

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Madeleine Dennis with her award-winning Original Seed homewares made from ground avocado seeds and resin.

Dennis originally set out to design something around genetically modified foods but her research soon led her into the world of waste and “how we can save food on a domestic level, what lengths we could go to”.

“I have always been interested in sustainable design,” she said. “Instead of designing brand new products why not create using what we have access to?”

Harking back to her research into genetic engineering and the theme of genesis, Dennis began toying with the avocado seed, finally reducing it to its most basic essence – a powder, “almost a spice”, with a pigment of ochre or rust.

Bringing her origami-inspired design to life was the hardest part, requiring countless prototypes first in paper, then perspex and silicon until the parameters were just right.

“It took a lot of time, and trial and error. We’re constantly told that an important part of experimentation is failure, and that through failure you’ll find a robust design solution.”

Dennis will continue her work with the avocado resin as part of her Honours project in 2016, when she hopes to collaborate with materials scientists to test its strength and explore uses on a larger, more industrial scale.

"It took a lot of time, and trial and error. We’re constantly told that an important part of experimentation is failure, and that through failure you’ll find a robust design solution.”

The UNSW A&D ANNUAL is Australia’s largest showcase of graduate work, serving as a springboard for the next generation of artists, designers, makers and media creators.

The multi-site exhibition and screenings will feature work from close to 200 creatives in fields including installation, animation, media and film, digital media and graphic design, painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, sound, furniture and jewellery, ceramics and textile design.

Numerous UNSW Art & Design graduates have gone on to high-profile careers. They include: Hany Armanious, Del Kathryn Barton, Mikala Dwyer, Adam Cullen, Abi Alice, Jonathan Jones, Shaun Gladwell, Claire Healy & Sean Cordeiro, Clinton Nain, Janet Laurence, Angelica Mesiti, Brook Andrew, Trent Jansen, Bronwyn Oliver and the team from Dinosaur Designs.

This year, graduate Nigel Milsom’s gothic portrait of Sydney barrister Charles Waterstreet won the Archibald prize, the third consecutive year of success for UNSW Art & Design in one of Australia’s most prestigious portrait competitions.

What: UNSW A&D ANNUAL Graduate Exhibition 2015

When: 25 November–12 December, 10am-5pm, Tuesday–Saturday

Where: UNSW Art & Design Paddington Campus, corner of Oxford St and Greens Rd, Paddington and A&D ANNUAL Screening: Friday 4 December, 6pm, Chauvel Cinema, 249 Oxford Street, Paddington

Take a sneak peak at some of the exhibits here.