Chickens give us more than just McNuggets and eggs. Their feathers are in our pillows, clothes, and furniture, while their bones can be incinerated and turned into ash to make fine china. Emilie van Spronsen’s H5N8 series of designs highlights the use of chicken byproducts in both a stool and an urn. The twist? The chickens in question had the bird flu when they were killed.
The H5N8 Stool looks like it was stuffed with Big Bird. The cushion is made of infected chicken feathers floating in a transparent pillow case, made up of bio-epoxy. The result is that while the shape looks light and soft, the stool itself is actually rigid.
For the H5N8 Urn, van Spronsen cremated the bones of bird flu-ridden chickens and mixed it with clay to produce a ceramic material that could be used for 3-D printing. She then printed out the Urn, designing its shape to look like a microscopic close-up of the H5N8 virus. Inside the urn is the rest of the chicken’s bone ash, which van Spronsen suggests can be used as a soil fertilizer.
According to van Spronsen, the point of her project is to raise awareness of the mass destruction of chickens infected by the H5N8 bird flu, which resulted in 150,000 birds being slaughtered in the most recent outbreak alone.
Van Spronsen says that the process of working with chickens infected by H8N8 was not dangerous, since heating the chicken to 158 degrees Fahrenheit before handling is enough to inactivate the virus. The whole project is a commentary on wastefulness and missed opportunities: even outbreaks of disease can make for good design.