UK designer introduces decaying sneakers as art

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In the United Kingdom, Olaniyi Studio founder Yussef Agbo-Ola has created art concept sneakers made of biomaterials that are designed to never be worn and instead decay. 

Dubbed Kajola, the collection of nine sneakers is made from materials such as clay, volcanic dust and cacao powder. “The Kajola capsule collection is not wearable, but rather [the shoes] exist as living artefacts,” Agbo-Ola tells Dezeen. 

Some of the materials were specifically chosen for their tendency to shrivel and curl when decaying, he adds. “This process made me think of an architectural tension or balance that could happen if two plants were woven together in opposite curling directions,” Agbo-Ola says. “I began to research more about the properties of plant skin, and how this material and the process of decay could be used as a system for footwear.” Additives like herbs and algae help control the rate of decay. 

The studio expects to launch wearable versions of Kajola in 2023. 

“We are currently building a team of engineers and material scientists to develop a working series of prototypes using our plant-based material skins fused with recycled ocean plastics and recycled rubber as a formula for 3D-printed sole composition,” said Agbo-Ola. “My aim is to push the potential of materials far beyond the known in relation to what plants can do, as well as design for a generation that is not here yet but could use the shoe as inspiration for the possibilities of plant-based footwear.”