Coffee Morphoses

Coffee Morphoses project studies responsible material design, focusing on urban mining, substantial potential of food waste and biopolymers, resulting as a set of bio-based materials made out of coffee waste. These are sustainable materials that are not meant to last forever. Instead, they last only as long as there is an emotional and caring relationship between the object and the user of the space.


Despite current diversification, digitalisation and industrialisation have resulted in the reduction of our contact with tactile space and materials. Information about materials and their methods of production are primarily within the purview of a narrow circle of scientists and industries, leaving architects in the role of consumer or commentator. Coffee Morphoses is a practical study regarding the possibilities for a designer and architect to autonomously produce materials. In addition to offering an alternative to the products of large industry, the work discusses the feasibility of so-called matter with a programmed lifespan against the background of short-term consumption vs. the long-term durability of materials.

Used coffee grounds can be seen not as trash, but a potential material resource. In one year, about nine million tons of coffee is consumed in the world. About 80% of it is left behind as waste. Coffee grounds are comprised primarily of cellulose and other organic compounds. By binding the wastes from the production and consumption of coffee with a natural binder, temporary materials can be produced that are not meant to last forever, but prolong the ‘serviceable life’ of the coffee grounds that would otherwise be discarded. Coffee morphoses materials are friendly to humans and the environment, are based on biologically reusable raw materials, age gracefully, are aesthetically imperfect and perceptible to the touch.

Supervisors: Kärt Ojavee, Eik Hermann, Edina Dufala-Pärn, Hannes Praks

Project year: 2015/2016

Estonian Academy of Arts

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