Waste Culture

Artists in Residence w/ Issac Salm & Jaime Salm, Lead Artists, from MIO

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Waste Culture

Billy Dufala & Lucia Thome from RAIR, Non-Profit Partners

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Infinite opportunities exist for consumer products to be fabricated from bio-based, renewable, or repurposed materials. Yet still, we live in a throw-away society. ‘Waste Culture: Rethinking Materials from Nature and Industry’ will engage students with local Philadelphia innovators, who are demonstrating eco-efficient practices that are driven by intentional material sourcing. In the lab, we will examine recently developed bio-based materials, with emphasis on fabrication processes, physical properties, and disruptions to traditional industries. In the studio, we will experiment with incorporating some of these bio-based materials as a new media. Together we ask, how can we contribute to generating sustainable consumer habits and industries?

This project was active during Spring 2019, in addition to a significant planning phase preceding the active semester as well as a follow up once the semester had concluded.


Lead Artist

Co-Founder of MIO

Isaac Salm was born in Medellin, Colombia in 1977. He received a bachelor of Business Administration in 1999 from The University of Miami with a double major in Economics and Finance. Following graduation Isaac worked as financial analyst at Kimberly Clark Corporation where he held several positions supporting manufacturing sites in the US and abroad. He later joined MIO as business managing director where he is responsible for leading the operations, finance and logistics of the business. Under his leadership MIO became a B Corporation and has developed breakthrough projects and strategies for MIO and its clients that redefine business for the Circular Economy.

Lead Artist

Co-Founder of MIO

Jaime Salm was born in Medellin, Colombia in 1978. He received a bachelors of Science in Industrial Design in 2001 from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.Following his graduation he founded MIO, a boutique design consultancy exploring opportunities in the field of sustainable design. He exhibited his first collection of environmentally responsible furnishings at the 2003 International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York. As Co-founder and Creative Director of MIO he bridges the gap between business and sustainability through design.He was presented with the People’s Choice Award in 2002 for the Need International Design Competition sponsored by Core 77, for his collaboration in Fibrid. In 2005 his designs for MIO were recognized with the Best Collection Award at the New York International Gift Fair. He has been a guest speaker at corporations and educational institutions including Hallmark, TCDC in Bangkok, the Univerisdad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon in Mexico, Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute in New York City, The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia University and The University of the Arts in Philadelphia where he has been a faculty lecturer.

Director of Residencies and Co-Founder


Billy Dufala is an artist/musician engaged in a wide variety of creative discipline. Billy is involved in an ongoing collaborative practice with his brother Steven , known as the Dufala Brothers.The brothers are represented by Fliesher Ollman. An important site for Billys current work is Revolution Recovery , a construction and demolition waste recycling facility, where Billy co-founded and runs an artist in residency program known as RAIR. This project provides a unique platform for artists to work at the intersection of art, industry and sustainability, while producing content that challenges perceptions of waste culture.

Director of Special Projects


Lucia Thomé is a Philadelphia-based sculptor, and is Director of Special Projects at RAIR, a non profit artist residency housed within a construction and demolition recycling center. At RAIR, Lucia works with artists and other organizations to create artworks, exhibitions and programing that challenge the perceptions of waste culture. She received her BFA from the University of Pennsylvania, and her Certificate at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), where she was the recipient of the Von Hess Memorial Scholarship and Travel Award. Thomé is a former member of the artist collective Traction Company. Her work has been exhibited extensively at local institutions including the Philadelphia International Airport, PAFA, The Woodmere Art Museum, FJORD, Little Berlin, and Vox Populi Gallery. Thomé has had solo shows at LMNL Gallery and Napoleon Gallery (both in Philadelphia, PA) and was selected to be a participating artist in Grizzly Grizzly’s 2017 Community Supported Art project. Most recently, she exhibited a body of new work, ‘Bone Dry’, made in collaboration with Mariel Capanna at Marginal Utility in Philadelphia.

Professor of Fine Arts

Haverford College

Born in Switzerland, Markus Baenziger moved to New York in 1984. After receiving his BFA from Parsons School of Design he attended the graduate program at Yale University where he received his MFA in 1989. Subsequently he had several solo exhibitions at Cohen Gallery, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, Bonakdar Jancou Gallery, and Edward Thorp Gallery. His work has been represented in numerous group exhibitions, including the Rose Art Museun, the Walker Art Center, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Contemporary Art Museum in Tampa, the Florida Atlantic University Gallery, Zabriskie Gallery, Edward Thorp Gallery, the Swiss Institute, C/O Gallery in Oslo.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

Haverford College

Elisabeth Evans is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies. Elisabeth did her undergraduate training in architecture at MIT and received her PhD in biotechnology at Brown University. Elisabeth has a broad range of teaching and research experiences employing a cross-disciplinary approach in her work, which encompasses architectural design, biomedical sciences, visual media, and the environment. Elisabeth has significant experience with STEM education, particularly in merging STEM and the arts (STEAM). She has also been engaged in outreach programs geared towards the inclusion of student populations that perceive science to be inaccessible.


RAIR: Billy Dufala, Director of Residencies and Co-Founder, and Lucia Thomé, Director of Special Projects

Non-Profit Partners

The mission of RAIR (Recycled Artist in Residency) is to challenge the perception of waste culture by providing a unique platform for artists at the intersection of art and industry. Situated inside a construction and demolition waste recycling company in northeast Philadelphia, RAIR offers artists studio space and access to more than 450 tons of materials per day.

Since its inception in 2010, RAIR’s flagship Residency Program has established itself as a unique opportunity for emerging, mid-career, and established artists. By facilitating artists’ direct engagement with the waste stream, RAIR encourages residents to consider their studio practice through the lens of sustainability and to thoughtfully re-assess their processes of material sourcing and waste disposal.

Collaborating with community groups, art institutions, and waste industry partners, RAIR has also extended its reach far beyond its resident artists through Projects including recycling facility tours, class presentations, public events, and exhibitions that illuminate the connections between art, industry, and sustainability. RAIR offers assistance with the material sourcing, planning, design, and fabrication involved in a range of cross-disciplinary projects, and works with collaborators to maximize the creative potential of waste materials.
Photo Credit: RAIR

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Issac Salm & Jaime Salm from MIO, Lead Artists

Artists in Residence

MIO was founded by the Salm brothers (Isaac, the numbers guy and Jaime, the design guy) with the objective of merging business rigor with environmentally and socially progressive design. Our mission is to give people the power to design living spaces with beautiful, sustainable, and highly personal product experiences.

To achieve this goal we design products, services, interactions, interiors and sustainable experiences. At MIO, we believe that sustainability is a value everyone should seek in all aspects of life. Our vision is to empower everyone to design and enjoy practical, beautiful, and sustainable living spaces. Giving shape to this new culture requires a paradigm shift. Changing minds drives us to create a design where responsibility and desire co-exist. Following this path, MIO is forging a new design language where beauty and sustainability are one – a process that leads to an inclusive and affordable design. We believe that consumers must be empowered to make a difference and that industry is a force for good.
Photo Credit: MIO

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Recycled Artist In Residency (RAIR) Tour w/ Sculpture: Materials and Techniques Course

Site Visit


2:00-4:00pm, RAIR, 7333 Milnor St, Philadelphia, PA

The students from Markus Baenziger’s “Sculpture: Materials and Techniques” traveled by bus to RAIR and received a tour of the site from Lucia Thomé, Director of Special Projects at RAIR, and Billy Dufala, Director of Residencies and Co-Founder. Thomé and Dufala walked the group through the administrative building, the sorting facility, and the area where the trucks dump materials to be sorted and recycled.

Thomé walked the students through the entire recycling process, pulling out examples of the most common types of materials that show up at RAIR (construction materials) before leading them up to RAIR’s on-site artist residency studio. The studio is one large room that is divided into separate areas for multiple artists to store their tools and objects they pick from the trash pile.

In addition to the tour, the sculpture students spent a significant amount of time picking through the trash pile themselves, gathering materials that were then loaded onto a pallet. Thomé transported those materials from the RAIR site back to Haverford, where the students used them to create artwork that was exhibited later in the semester.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Bursese

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Rethinking Materials with RAIR, Non-Profit Partners & MIO, Lead Artists



4:30-6:00pm, Haverford College, VCAM 001

Part artist talk, part FAQ on starting your own organization: Isaac & Jaime Salm, Co-Founders of MIO design studio together with Billy Dufala & Lucia Thomé from Recycled Artist in Residency (RAIR), will sift through issues of industry, creative process and transformational trash.
This event is free and open to the public.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Bursese

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Storytelling Workshop w/ Museum Hack and Laboratory in Environmental Sciences Course

Presentation & Workshop


11:30-12:30pm, Haverford College, VCAM 001

Museum Hack will be visiting Haverford to put on a storytelling workshop for the students in ENVS201 Laboratory in Environmental Sciences and ARTSH243 Materials & Techniques, two classes that are part of a collaborative PACC project this semester. The intent of the workshop is to inspire students to reflect upon in-classroom behavior, and more broadly approaches to learning, realizing that our level of engagement is integral to the learning process. More specifically, by participating in this workshop, we will:

1. Gain a toolset towards storytelling and instilled confidence in accessing our own ability to communicate and distill complex information to diverse audiences.

2. Shift our learning approach away from task completion towards narrative learning.

About Museum Hack:
Museum Hack exists to reimagine and inspire new adult museum experiences around the world. If you are a museum hater or even museum apathetic then prepare for mind = blown, because we are going to show you these institutions are not just pretty damn cool but are also the social and cultural amplifier on your brief-yet-meaningful-existence. In recent decades, museums are the under-dogs, and like Hamilton, the Mighty Ducks and NYC rent, they are going to rise up. We see a future where museums are the fulcrum of strong communities, and we’re singing them praises every single day. Come rap with us.
Photo Credit: Museum Hack

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Bioplastics Workshop w/ Laboratory in Environmental Sciences & Sculpture: Materials and Techniques Courses



11:15-12:45pm, Haverford College, VCAM Maker Space & Community Kitchen

Through the bioplastics workshop and the subsequent final shareout event, activities were designed for the students to participate in the meaningful bidirectional transfer of knowledge. In the ENVS201 student-led bioplastic workshop, this was accomplished through multiple stations that the pairs of students (one from each course) cycled through. For example, the ENVS201 students in a format akin to a televised kitchen cooking show walked the ARTSH students through the process of fabricating a starch-based bioplastic. For a parallel counterpart, in the maker space, students starting with already made bioplastic films worked together to experiment with ways to transform a 2D film into a 3D form (a mini sculptural form). As a modality of experimentation with which the sculpture students are more versed in, the sculpture students took on the role of “teacher” in this workshop station.
Leading up to the bioplastics workshop, students participated in two storytelling workshops to empower them with confidence and some tools to communicate with each other across disciplines. The first event was put on by Museum Hack to both classes and the second was delivered by a guest lecture by Professor Nimisha Ladva to ENVS201. In the second workshop, Professor Ladva had ENVS201 students work on a personal mission statement in which they articulated why Environmental Studies were important to them. By working on this in advance, students could better engage one another in teaching moments across disciplines that occurred during the subsequent workshop and final shareout.

1. Background info brief presentation on bioplastics and specifically starch-based bioplastics: could be either slides in the screening room or with no visual cues anywhere

2. Mixing station in the VCAM kitchen were we mix/heat/prepare the pre-plastic mixture of all the ingredients (which are all food-grade/eco-friendly). We will pour and dehydrate these to become films (in the oven)

3. Creativity/experimentation station in the Maker space, where we could provide already cast starch bioplastic films for the students to play or experiment with.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Bursese

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Trash Audit w/ Laboratory in Environmental Sciences Course



11:15-12:45PM, Haverford College, Founders Green

On Wednesday afternoon (hours prior to the shareout event), as part of Earth Week, Elisabeth Evans’ course “Laboratory in Environmental Sciences” assisted the college’s Office of the President for a waste assessment audit. The students sorted through Haverford College garbage in order to make some specific observations about how much waste could be diverted to recycling or compost streams (waste was collected from both a residential and administrative building as a representative sampling).
Photo Credit: Haverford College Communications

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