Can we rethink the way we choose, produce and discard materials?
67°51’54.2” N 176°7’30.5” W © Álvaro Laiz

In (RE)FRAME, Beyond the Edge explores how to implement circular thinking in museographical practice, seeking to offer alternatives for material expression that underline the philosophy of climate neutrality. (RE)FRAME aims to help scale up existing solutions to our environmental challenges by showing what is possible and making this work more readily available across the arts sector.

For Beyond the Edge, we commissioned Sara Regal, a designer specialising in materials research and environmental practices, to design and produce a unique edition of (RE)FRAME for 43 artworks featured in The Edge, which would otherwise have been displayed in frames produced from alternatives to tropical hardwood (Mansonia).

What (RE)FRAME achieved:

80% reduction in our carbon footprint.

Manufacturing frames from Mansonia as originally planned would have resulted in a carbon footprint of around 260 kgCO2e instead, with (Re)FRAME the footprint was around 50 kgCO2e.

Circularity in our materials and thinking

98% of the material in the frames came from recycled or reclaimed sources and 100% can be recycled at the end of its life.

Reduction of waste to landfill

210 kg of paper mill waste was diverted from landfill by using HONEXT boards, a circular material.

A reduced demand for wood harvesting

A reduced demand for wood harvesting. While wood can be a sustainable material in the right circumstances, global demand is driving illegal logging and deforestation in many countries. Replacing virgin wood with circular materials — especially when needed only for a limited time, e.g., for a temporary exhibition — can play a role in easing the pressure on forests.

Technical Details

The boards and mouldings are made from HONEXT board, which is produced in Barcelona.
HONEXT has very low material inputs and a minimal carbon footprint, being manufactured from waste fibres from paper mills using energy generated in the processing of local municipal waste.

HONEXT is made exclusively from 100% recyclable, nontoxic cellulosic waste, with no emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and is Cradle to Cradle certified.

Eska board, produced exclusively from recycled fibres and with a zero-waste approach, was used for the backing boards.

The frame mouldings were lined with paper following tradition
al hand binding techniques.

Materiality research

When selecting the material for (RE)FRAME, other innovative circular solutions, such as sea stone, solid textile board, plastic wood and plastic waste were also considered. HONEXT was chosen because it suited the project’s technical, financial and time constraints. Most importantly, the material could be delivered to the framers in Madrid overland, thereby avoiding unnecessary transport emissions.

Systemic collaboration

(RE)FRAME is a project based on the principle that we need to create change and show leadership through systemic frameworks. The project developed through close collaboration between Sara Regal (product designer), Daniel Suárez (art conservator), our carpenters and framers, Álvaro Laiz and UreCulture.
(RE)FRAME is a circular design project for cultural institutions and artists, created by UreCulture.
The Edge Alvaro Laiz MUNAV
Installation view of The Edge at Museo Universidad de Navarra, Spain © Álvaro Laiz