Sanne Visser

Sanne is a London-based material design researcher and maker. She is a PhD researcher and Associate Lecturer at the Centre for Circular Design at Chelsea College, University of the Arts London (UAL), and runs her own design practice, Studio Sanne Visser. She graduated from Material Futures at Central Saint Martins in 2016. She has exhibited her work at major institutions worldwide, including the Textielmuseum, Museu del Disseny de Barcelona, Science Gallery Dublin, Tate Modern and the Design Museum. Her main interest as a design researcher is material innovation, sustainability and future thinking. Sanne is mainly recognised for her ongoing research investigating the potential of human hair waste as a new resource. 


For her residency, Sanne intends to explore human hair as both a waste stream and a material resource. She will work with a group of hairdressers local to the Design Museum to understand, rethink and reimagine the systems and materials of hair, using interdisciplinary and participatory design methods. Her aim is to understand and visualise the barriers and opportunities of the hair waste system on a hyperlocal level, not only how to reduce waste but also adding value on a social, economic and cultural level.


Locally Grown

For LOCALLY GROWN, Sanne Visser has worked with a group of local hairdressers to explore the possibilities of recycling human hair.

On average, each of these will cut off 2.4 kilograms of hair every month, most of which will end up in landfill. Yet hair is a highly versatile material. Like wool, it can be sorted and processed for use as a yarn or textile. It can also be broken down to its chemical components for medical uses or even as a plastic alternative.

Sanne’s investigation takes us into the hairdressers and barbers of Kensington and Chelsea to consider how they – and their tools – might play a role in a new recycling system that restores a common waste material back into creative reuse.

[Photos by Felix Speller]