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Grapple by Ryan Frank

Testing production limits with modular hanging hooks made of grass

by Leonora Oppenheim in Design on 10 June 2013

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Barcelona-based designer Ryan Frank has invented a modular hanging system called Grapple. The molded hooks have a buckle feature which allows them to be set at different heights along strands of webbing and hold items of various weights, such as a coat, plant, bag or hat.

The adjustable system uses just two materials to create a highly adaptable storage structure. The hook design is based on an old industrial crane hook that Frank found in a junkyard. He created a mold and adapted the form to include the buckle feature at the top, which allows the hook to slide on to a length of natural jute webbing. The webbing loop, secured by another small buckle, can then be hung on a wall, beam or open stairs.

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The hook itself is injection-molded using a material called Agriplast which is, rather surprisingly, made from a combination of grass clippings and recycled polypropylene in a variety of colours. It is developed by a German company called Biowert that specializes in processing meadow grass into environmentally friendly bio-plastics, insulation and green electricity.

The grass works to bulk up and strengthen the molded form (each hook can support 10 kilos) while having the added benefit of reducing the plastic content by over 50 percent. Frank says this is a closed loop system whereby the plastic content is from recycled sources and the hooks themselves can be infinitely recycled.

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Frank has sophisticated form when it comes to creating contemporary designs using sustainable materials. He has made his name with a chair made from reused plastic shopping bags, producing new furniture laser-cut from unwanted office furniture and iPad and iPhone covers made from cork.

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Frank and his company TAPEgear have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their first production run of Grapple. The money raised will go towards manufacturing the mold and buying the materials. You can pre-order packs of one, two or four Grapple hooks via the Kickstarter project.

Images by Ruben Ortiz

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