Interactive & Visual - Honours


trophy Awarded

Jewellery for the environmentally progressive

Chael-Rachelle Manahan

Project Overview

Australia is the largest exporter of the world’s iron ore however, is known to utilise unsustainable practices. Décarburer – a luxury ‘scrap metal’ jewellery brand, aims to bring awareness to Australia’s inadequate carbon policy issues through reach gained from social presence and creating conversation. This research work aims to tackle discussions of net zero policies, pollution, carbon emissions and the Australian public opinion. Physical artifacts created as part of this research project investigate uniting people through purchase in support of a cause.

Brand Identity

Décarburer’s warm ochre hues were designed to depict the burnt Australian landscape by symbolising the iconic red soil of the outback and the heavily polluted atmosphere; a consequence of steel production. This situated the research project to equally address a ‘sustainable awareness campaign’ and elicit conversation through a ‘visual storytelling’ of the designer’s unique upbringing. Décarburer’s artifacts are handmade from sustainably sourced scrap metal and repurposed into wearable designs. Each one-of-a-kind piece is made to represent a landmark within the Kimberley region and therefore comes with its own informational swing tag. This is where purchasers can locate steel production facts, track the history of the metal, and scan the QR code to sign the petition to declare a state of climate emergency. The jewellery is then packaged in custom hinged boxes made from fallen nuts of the Boab tree. The shell of the Boab nut has been used as a canvas for expression, creativity and storytelling by Indigenous Australians for thousands of years and is a defining feature of the West Kimberley landscape.


Project Significance

The Australian government has yet to legislate a net-zero policy or initiate sufficient environmental recovery plans. The reduction in projected 2030 emissions is owed, not to meaningful climate policies but as result of the deterioration of Australian economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, (Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, 2020).

Australia’s existing policies “fall far short of the emissions reductions required to meet [their determined] 2030 target” contribution with the Paris Agreement

(Climate Action Tracker, 2020)

A climate activist from the Australian Conservation Foundation says there is a chance Australia will announce net-zero policy plans as early as November 2021 as result of the Prime Minister bowing to domestic and international pressure in pursuit of avoiding further embarrassment, (Taylor, 2021).

Décarburer’s production deadline corresponds with the timing of the COP26, meaning the project will enter the exhibit as environmental sustainability, climate change, and national policy hit a global ‘hot topic’. This will correspondingly boost the brand’s reach and exposure, leading to more awareness for decarbonising the steelmaking industry as a subsection to reducing Australia’s GHG emissions.

Personal Significance

Kununurra is where I lived amongst and learnt from the Miriwoong and Gija people. As a result, from this upbringing, my connection to the land has always been strong and my time as a student of design has always reflected my admiration for sustainability. My family’s business in the region was to mine a uniquely patterned sedimentary rock, formed at the base of the Ord River. The term ‘zebra rock’ is descriptive of the stone’s contrasting dark iron and pale silica bands.

A large part of Décarburer’s identity focuses on storytelling. Along with process videos, product photography and informational sustainability statistics (shared via Instagram), Décarburer allows me to share interesting moments of my childhood and historic legends of the Kimberley.

Chael-Rachelle Manahan

Chael-Rachelle has an interest in re-purposed, sustainable fabrication anchored with the intent of sparking change through positive representation and eliciting curiosity in everyday lives. Chael envisions herself working on projects which require an innovative design mindset so that her hands-on ideation, solution-focused discipline and personal drive can be best utilised. The creations Chael strives to produce are those which convey multiple symbolic meanings, and stimulate more opportunities for conversation.