a little foot in the loop

Looking into the industrial production of Soy, we found that the Soy Hull is a byproduct full of potential but underused by the industry. Experimenting freely in the CHEMARTS laboratory, we observed what could be the achievable material properties. For instance, we observed that a bouncy, cork-like material could be obtained with a certain recipe, while flexible sheets were also possible. After intensive research, ideation, and stimulating conversations amongst us, designing ‘shoes’ captivated both of us. Not only did it have the potential to communicate the diverse material properties that we have been able to product, but it also complemented the cultural elements at a more conceptual level. We moved on to refining our experiments to achieve the characteristics we required for our shoes. The result was Zorelo.

The product name, ‘Zorelo’, derived from the merging of the Japanese Zori and the Brazillian Chinelo, which also reflects our initial point of soy as a cultural material. With the most recent prototype, we managed to find the ultimate recipe and the assembling method, which created a strong but flexible and slightly bouncy, semi-water-resistant shoe. Zorelo is fully biodegradable, and it is designed so that it is still ‘within the loop’ - meaning that ideally, they could continue on their path afterwards and be fed to cattle (as soy hulls are currently being used for).

Soy hull material development. 2021. 

Developed by Ena Naito and Taísa Helena.

Project developed during CHEMARTS Summer School - Aalto University 2021