Graft—Disposable Items To Keep Forever

Qiyun Deng is a product design graduate from Guangdong, China. Graft is the main project of her master’s degree in product design at Ecole Cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL) in Switzerland.

Graft is a series of disposable tableware made of PLA (Poly Lactic Acid), a bioplastic derived from renewable resources (plants) that is totally degradable. To tackle the environmental issue of highly disposable products (like plastic cutlery) it is important to change the materials as well as people’s attitude towards them. Graft blends texture and colour from fruits and vegetables into tableware, attaching haptic qualities to these traditionally common, cheap products. The Graft series begs a question: will you throw them away easily?

Qiyun Deng: “The project took four months and I was busy working every day. It started as a renovation of disposable products and a focus on their tactile quality. A lot of time was spent on experimenting with different textures to find an appropriate ‘skin’, resulting in a sharp, functional association of taste. The final prototypes were finished at the school workshop using coloured resins and various casting techniques learned from our artisan and from Google.”

“ I received a lot of feedback after Graft’s exposure and I’m now contacting manufacturers to have the pieces produced and sold. I picked up vegetables and fruits with special tactile feature and reproduced their skins with resin to find each a proper application. By doing so I noticed that texture and form in nature autonomously exists with a function that we can borrow to serve the purpose of artificial objects. A celery stem, for example, acts as handle for the fork; a petal of artichoke then becomes the bowl of the spoon.”

Look through Qiyun Deng’s work at

  • onion
  • lemon
  • press
  • spoons

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