FabBRICK, founded in 2017, recycles textile waste into ecological and aesthetic bricks.

Young French architecture student, Clarisse Merlet wanted to explore a new way of construction. She learnt that every year in Europe alone, 4 million tons of textiles are thrown away! Therefore, Clarisse came up with the idea of FabBRICK, which recycles old textiles despite their condition and compresses them into fabric blocks. The old clothes can be divided up into cottons, denims etc and can be utilised to focus upon the fabric’s unique qualities.

Cotton is deemed a powerful thermal and acoustic insulator and could therefore be used in interior design to create a quiet atmosphere within a room, as heat-insulation partition walls. This could be a great idea to apply into older buildings which won’t have the same insultation developments as newer builds. The cotton bricks would be able to maintain a more suitable room temperature, lowering the property’s heating bills.

Other projects have also focused on interior design for example, the bricks have been used for feature walls in shops and hotels. They have a unique quality to them and can be arranged in any formation to specifically adapt to the environment and layout.

I think it is really important that we find new innovative ways to recycle clothing. As part of a recent project, I have been investigating ways in which we store our clothes in our wardrobes and it was surprising to find that people only wear around 25% of their clothing, leading to a lot of clothes being thrown away or passed to a charity shop.

The number of clothes people are buying today is the main cause for textile pollution. Fast fashion is cheap, convenient and easy and therefore entices people to buy. We need to encourage people to buy for life not for one occasion.

FabBRICK caught my attention, through family who live in France, sharing an online short documentary showing how Clarisse started her small business venture. Although she is an architecture student, her design links very closely with PDE and I found it very inspiring that these small ideas, we think may be impossible, can actually become a reality.

Her drive and passion for this project has led to 40,000 bricks being manufactured, equating to 12 tons of recycled textiles. With only 8 people in her company today, she is making huge progress and I am very excited to see how the company will grow.

17th March 2021.