2019, Design Academy Eindhoven 



Ocher, gelatin, glycerin, and water. With these four natural substances, Soowon Chae has developed a sustainable and biodegradable material that he calls Ocragela.


Tribute to Ocher

Hence the title is ‘Red Ocher and a Wise Man'. Man has been using red ocher as a natural coloring since prehistoric times. We know it for example from ancient rock drawings and from Egyptian frescoes, but ocher was also used as material to sharpen ivory. Soowon Chae not only uses red ocher as a coloring agent, but also as a tribute to the curiosity and creativity of the prehistoric man, and the respect he showed for nature. 

How different is the story behind gelatin, often regarded as a kind of ‘inferior’ residual product of the meat-processing industry. That is precisely why Soowon Chae chose it as a main ingredient to create a sustainable material with completely new possibilities. And to make a critical comment about the stereotyping by contemporary man in a society dominated by capitalism.


Ocragela was created by mixing gelatin and ocher with glycerin and water. By varying the proportions, temperature and methods of casting, Soowon Chae created different patterns, colors, textures, thickness and flexibility. 


We are all creative and wise human beings before a manufacturer and a customer



Dutch Design Week at Graduation show G19

"Red Ochre and a Wise Man"

Eindhoven, THE NETHERLANDS / October 2019

Material's Future Life at The Tallinn Design Festival  

"Red Ochre and a Wise Man"
Tallinn, ESTONIA / September 2019

Yksi Expo Exhibition

"Red Ochre and a Wise Man"

Eindhoven, The NETHERLANDS / January-July 2020

(upcoming) Rossana Orlandi Guiltless Plastic Prize

Milan, ITALY / 28 September - 10 October 2020

(upcoming) Material District Expo 2021

Rotterdam, The NETHERLANDS / March 2021

01. Concept Video 'Red Ochre and a Wise Man'
02. Ingredients : Ochre family, Gelatin, Glycerin, Water
03. Material experiments which show various potentials
By changing the temperatures, proportions and the way of pouring, different patterns, colours, textures, thickness and flexibility could have been made with only those 4 natural ingredients. 

This material can be hand-stitched or machine-sewed, so it can be used as a normal textile material. And it can be customised to leather-like, rubber/silicone-like and plastic-like by changing the proportions and the way of making. 

So, with these material experiments, Soowon is keeping on the research about how to apply this new  sustainable and biodegradable into the products, textiles and flooring material.

04. How to apply  the new material into our life 
05. Sketch /  Mood collage for on-going research 
*Material development  with GELATEX 
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*Material's Future Life at The Tallinn Design Festival, Estonia, September 2019

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*OCRAGELA is now available on Material-District. Check it out here :


And also it will be presented at Material District Expo in Rotterdam 2020. 

Material's Future Life at The Tallin