Many of us find inspiration over our morning cup. But for artist and designer Jorge A. Garcia Razo the muse actually appeared in the dregs of his—and the Mexican expat has been using them to create sustainable design pieces ever since.
“One day while I was cleaning the coffee maker I just asked myself what could be done with the used grounds. I decided to make it my thesis topic.”
Garcia Razo, who came to Prague from Mexico three years ago and finished his masters degree in Visual Arts & Product design at UMPRUM last summer, is not the first innovator to see the potential of coffee grounds as source material.
“Other people are interested in using, for instance, filament for 3D printing made out of coffee. My original idea was to use my coffee composite material as an alternative for plastics. So my thesis project was a stool.”
Garcia Razo began to experiment, making a number of prototypes from a mixture of coffee sludge and tree-sap binder. “The idea was to make the most natural and ecological product possible.” The stools ended up looking like plates so Jorge’s tutors and friends suggested that he follow that direction.
The designer’s coffee creations made the finals of the 2015 Designblok Prague Design and Fashion Week where Pavel Maurer, founder of the Prague Food Festival, noticed them and commissioned Jorge to make a number of his eco-friendly dessert plates for the swag bags given away at the release party for his annual Grand Restaurant Guide at Prague Castle.
Using grounds donated from Café V Lese and DeLonghi, a sponsor of the event, Garcia Razo made 150 plates by hand, a process that took close to a month—earning him the admiration of Czech gourmets and the knowledge that both the material and the concept have endless potential.
“After seeing the reaction of people towards the project, I will continue working with the coffee composite, improving the formula and coming up with other objects.”
Improvements include testing the plates in dishwashers and microwaves as well as exposure to very hot liquids, even though, as per the artist, the plates meet food safety requirements.
And while Garcia Razo does accommodate requests for custom pieces, he won’t be pursuing the business side of things until after the holidays when he returns to Prague from his holiday travels, saying: “Mexican food, you know.”
Contact Jorge A. Garcia Razo via his website www.garciarazo.com.