These customisable children’s headphones are a first step into the essential world of circular design. Shaped by Morrama in collaboration with Batch.Works, the Kibu Headphones are both functioning tech and an educational tool.
The headphones have been shaped by Morrama, an award-winning industrial design and innovation consultancy based in London. Teaming up with Batch.Works, specialists in circular manufacturing, the Kibu headphones have been designed to demonstrate how consumer electronics don’t have to be disposable.
Kibu headphones for children: recyclable and repairable
With a simple, modular design that’s intended to be assembled and customised by children, each Kibu component can be easily replaced or recycled. Batch.Works is a new kind of low-volume manufacturing service, building products on demand using only circular materials – ie, 100 per cent certified recycled – and committed to re-manufacturing, renewing, dissembling or recycling at the end of the product’s lifespan.
Kibu’s plastic components are formed from recycled PLA made from agricultural packaging waste, printed on demand in a wide range of colours. The packaging, created by Studio Don, which also designed the branding, is naturally fully recyclable, and the whole approach is one of playful simplicity.
The headphones themselves are wired, cutting down on circuitry and complexity, with a soft Thermoplastic Polyurethane headband and foam ear cups. ‘We hope to set the next generation on a path to better understanding and appreciating the objects they use and interact with and do so in a playful and engaging way,’ says Jo Barnard, founder and creative director of Morrama.
Batch.Works will take back the headphones once they’re no longer required and reuse the materials to make new ones. Even the circuit boards are designed to be easily broken down so that precious metals can be recovered. ‘Kibu introduces the principles of [repair and recycling] to younger generations, whom we hope will grow up to think of them as normal,’ says Milo McLoughlin-Greening, partner and head of R&D at Batch.Works. All involved in the project hope the Kibu name will grace other products in due course.
Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.
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