Being sustainable is about reducing waste; and this is the main ethos behind Danish designer Kathrine Barbro Bendixen, founder of Studio KKB, and her use of discarded cow intestines to create the most striking lighting installations. Starting this unusual practice for her degree show for Eindhoven Design Academy a few years ago, Kathrine was initially inspired by sausage-making and decided to experiment to see what else she could make from this simple byproduct.
With each cow’s intestine being approximately 12 metres, what is important about her work, is that in the interim without her utilising these intestines, much of them would go to waste as sausage manufacturers switch to alternative casings. In addition, the process of using offal waste and intestines is an age old process with anything from the strings of tennis rackets to the intestines of seals being traditionally used by the Inuits for clothing due to their breathable and waterproof properties.
With her own recent standalone show, as well as her work being exhibited at Venice Biennale, Denmark Design Museum in Copenhagen and Salone de Mobile, Milan, Kathrine is able to celebrate, and encompass the natural shape and curls of the intestine, within her light installations. She also sees that the intestines could be put to use in other applications, such as furniture and plans to create some pieces inspired by her 94 year old grandfather who is a cabinet maker.
Eventually, this material may become less prevalent as we move towards a vegan lifestyle, however in the interim making use of this byproduct in such a beautiful way, makes so much sense. By challenging our understanding of the value of these unexpected materials normally hidden from sight, her light sculptures bring new life to waste products and delivers delicate artistic pieces that are combined with functional, sustainable design.