Locally Grown


For LOCALLY GROWN, as part of the Design Researchers in Residency programme (Future Observatory), Sanne has worked with a group of hairdressers local to the Design Museum in order to understand, rethink and reimagine the systems and materials of hair.

The project findings were disseminated as part of the Restore exhibition with accompanied Restore publication, launched June 2022 at the Design Museum.


For LOCALLY GROWN, Sanne Visser has worked with a group of local hairdressers to explore the possibilities of recycling human hair.

There are 97 hairdressers in a one mile radius of the Design Museum. On average, each of these will cut off 2.4 kilograms of hair every month, most of which will end up in landfill. Yet hair is a highly versatile material. Like wool, it can be sorted and processed for use as a yarn or textile. It can also be broken down to its chemical components for medical uses or even as a plastic alternative.

Sanne’s investigation takes us into the hairdressers and barbers of Kensington and Chelsea to consider how they – and their tools – might play a role in a new recycling system that restores a common waste material back into creative reuse.

︎ by Felix Speller

︎ by Sana Badri

︎ by Sana Badri

Ninety-seven hairdressers and barbershops in one mile radius from the Design Museum. Red dots indicate the research participants Sanne worked with as part of the project.

Illustration by Studio Sanne Visser

Redesigning tools

︎ by Felix Speller

A new hair recycling system requires new tools. These pieces of familiar salon furniture have been redesigned by Sanne to allow hairdressers and barbers to easily recycle the hair waste that they produce. The cape and bin provide an accessible way to collect and sort hair, while the more advanced design of the chair enables it to catch and store hair immediately after it is cut.

Barber’s chair
Recycled barber’s chair, Piñatex, mixed textiles, hair
Design by Sanne Visser
Upholstery by Charmaine Dresser
With thanks to Ananas Anam

Sorting bin
Recycled trolley, mixed textiles, hair
Design by Sanne Visser

Hairdressing gown
Mixed textiles, hair
Design by Sanne Visser

Film Locally Grown

Concept and art direction: Sanne Visser
Cinematographer and editer: Alice Dousova
3D Artist: Alexa Sirbu
Lenght: 10:41

The film Locally Grown is about the people that work within the system that Sanne worked closely with. It highlights the current  infrastructure of hairdressing with its significances in tools, place and people. The current hair and beauty industry in the UK includes 46000 businesses, employs over 281.000 people, of which 86% is female, is one of the lowest paid jobs, whilst its direct economic contribution is greater than the road and railway construction and engineering industry or agriculture.

Film Hair Wool

Concept and art direction: Sanne Visser
Cinematographer and editer: Alice Dousova
Length: 9:40

Special thanks to British Wool, Susie Parish, Haworth Scouring, Great Brockhamhurst Farm

What does a hair system have in common with other protein based fibres, like wool? What do we want to learn and unlearn from these paralel industries? 

Locally Grown animation made by 3D artist Alexa Sirbu. 

What if we can see hair as a growing fibre and our population as a landscape? What if our hairdressers become the farmers of the future?


76 KG of human hair was collected across 4 months from 8 different hairdressers and barbershops in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London.

Pages from the Restore publication. To read the whole publication please click here.

What next?

The hair collected as part of the residency project Locally Grown, was used to create a bespoke series of mirrrors during the end of Sanne’s residency. These were then exhibited during London Design Festival, as part of Bromton’s Design District in September 2022. Please check out EXTENDED page here for more details.


Evening Standard

Read here the full article


Sanne was invited to be filmed by the UKRI and AHRC team, for their ‘101 Jobs that change the world’ series. Watch the films below!

To find out more about the #101Jobs series, click here

Sanne’s interview with UKRI

Why funding the arts is so important...