The guiding line of this exhibition called «The Embrace» is to show the Elise Gabriel’s research on Zelfo, a new recycled material made of cellulose fibres, and its capacity, when drying, to embrace and liaise with other materials, in order to create innovative pieces of furniture, both light and very strong.
"Zelfo is a rebellious material. 100 % cellulose fibres in a solid state, 95 % water in a liquid state. Tremendous tensions occur when drying, with a 70 % reduction rate. An extraction technique developed 10 years ago, with no industrial application yet.
Knowing all this, I threw myself into it.
Handling. Protocoles. Observation. Confrontation. Experiments.
Constantly going back and forth between my intuition and the realities of the material, my needs and its demands.
Zelfo is a living matter. Of course, one can guide it, constrict it, trick it. But it always responds – with a quiver, a twist, a contraction. It is unpredictable and against the grain. At the same time I lie in wait for this Embrace, I look forward to it. Sometimes I can even anticipate it. And this is what is really at the heart of my project. To act and to let it go.
Elise Gabriel, Avril 2011
1°) What is «Zelfo» ?
Invented 10 years ago in Austria, Zelfo is an innovating and patented material, with a unique combination of ecological, esthetical and mechanical attributes. It is entirely made from cellulose fibres, that are processed from renewables vegetals such as hemp, or from recycling waste such as paper or fabric. Zelfo is a high density material with remarkable qualities of strength and resistance, together with lightness and transparency.
2) The transforming process
Zelfo will only take basic shaping in definite conditions, otherwise it risks cracking and tearing down when it dries. Hence it cannot be used into any existing industrial process. On the other hand, being processed adequately, Zelfo is very strong and rigid, whilst being very light, two interesting qualities. This is why Elise Gabriel came to think of Zelfo in terms of a transforming process.
Zelfo comes in a liquid form that Elise Gabriel presses into a paste that can be shaped and moulded.
Then she applied Zelfo either on some elements of the chair or the table or on a matrix for the lamps and the stands. After Elise has to wait fews days. During this time, Zelfo dries and embraces the elements and becomes part of the object: it has a function in it.