based in europe’s most heavily forested country and interested in the future use of cellulose, finnish aalto university has introduced the CHEMARTS cookbook, a project that offers both simple and advanced recipes for hands-on experiments with wood-based materials. combining design methods and chemical engineering, the CHEMARTS team aims to inspire people to test the recipes at home, in workshops or in chemistry labs and develop their own ideas. 

the chemarts cookbook 1
recipe 14: bio slime, by chiao-wen hsu & yu chen
all images by eeva suorlahti


the cookbook by aalto university asks questions including: how can we make flexible, transparent wood-based materials? what kinds of materials can we derive from trees, while still respecting the preciousness of nature? could the innovative use of renewable cellulosic materials change our material world? the book showcases experimental ideas and interesting results, focusing on raw materials that are processed either chemically or mechanically from trees or other plants: cellulose fibres, micro- or nano-structured fibrils, cellulose derivatives, lignin, bark, and wood extractives.

the chemarts cookbook 2
recipe 20: patterning cellulose, by iines jakolev



as a long-term strategic collaboration between two aalto university faculties (chemistry and arts), CHEMARTS strives for a circular economy in which materials are not only reused or recycled — they are merely stored in products and then used again and again. when designers and scientists join forces already at the early stage of materials research, new plant-based materials can be designed and developed for these closed-loop systems.  

the chemarts cookbook 3
recipe 4: common reed oanels, by paivi lehtinen


the chemarts cookbook 4
the CHEMARTS cookbook foam experiments at aalto university


the chemarts cookbook 5
recipe 2: pine bark reinvented, by aarni tujula


the chemarts cookbook 6
recipe 9: pulp foams

the chemarts cookbook 7
recipe 11: solid foam, by tapani vuorinen & tomi jeskanen

the chemarts cookbook 8
the CHEMARTS cookbook team (clockwise) tapani vuorinen, nina riutta, eeva Suorlahti, pirjo kääriäinen & liisa tervinen

the chemarts cookbook 9
aalto university’s the CHEMARTS cookbook inspires material enthusiasts