Leading European eco-designer Ryan Frank has designed a sustainable and innovative solution for hanging random household objects such as hats, helmets, clothes, bags and even pot plants.

The grapple story began a few years ago while Ryan Frank, a South African-born furniture designer with studios in London and Barcelona, was walking around a hot dusty scrapyard during a visit to his home country. He came across an old rusty crane hook, which he thought was a beautiful example of an object designed for optimised strength and function. The hook made it into his suitcase, and back in London he hung it on his bedroom wall.

This hook soon inspired a hanging system that he wanted to create for TAPEgear, an environmentally aware design team that Frank has been designing products for over the past four years. TAPEgear’s business model places holistic sustainability at the forefront of everything it does.

“One aim is to explore how we can make products accessible to a mass audience while at the same time treading as lightly as possible on the environment,” says Frank. “We are also interested in creating more awareness about new ‘green’ materials and introducing them to the mainstream.”

Frank’s original hooks were cast of bio-resin from his old crane hook. “But I soon realised that hand casting is too slow and natural bio-resin is also too expensive. I knew I needed to injection mould these hooks in order to make them more accessible,” he explains.

After much research Frank and TAPEgear eventually found a German company, Blowert, that specialises in bio polymers. One of its composite materials – Agriplast – is made using a small percentage of recycled plastic and real grass clippings. It’s developed in Blowert’s bio refinery where the grass (which is sourced in nearby meadows) is processed into environmentally friendly bio-plastics, insulation and green electricity.

Frank used this material to make his hooks and was extremely pleased with the beautifully textured and strong product that has the faintest smell of grass.

He then went about devising a way of connecting multiple hooks together. The solution was a simple buckle system made from a length of natural jute webbing and held together by a small, bio-polymer buckle. Users can slide on as many hooks as they like, allowing for a completely flexible hanging system. The hooks will come in four colours – granite, leaf green, pomegranate red and topaz blue.

“Developing a product such as Grapple creates a much needed awareness in ‘green’ manufacturing and shows that there are alternatives to petroleum-based plastic. Now is the time that we should be producing products with sustainability built in as standard,” he stresses.

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