At the School of Visual Arts, Core77's own Allan Chochinov challenged students on his 3D Design course to redesign the first thing they threw out after class. Finding herself chucking an empty tube of toothpaste, Lebonese design student Leen Sadder sprang into action, busily researching the history of toothpaste and its relationship to the toothbrush.
Leen soon stumbled upon the "Miswak"; a cleansing twig of the Salvadora persica tree, used for the purposes of teeth cleaning throughout the Middle-East and Asia for millennia. Recognizing the sustainability-potential of eliminating both the toothbrush and paste, Leen's intriguing "THIS" concept aims to package and promote the Miswak as an organic and biodegradable alternative to the Western teeth cleansing routine.
Acknowledging the difficulty of ingratiating a Western audience to her twigs, Leen included a clever cigar-cutter-like lid to her packaging concept—the bark traditionally being stripped to the brush like fibres with a bit of good old fashioned chewing.
Although we still can't see the Miswak taking off in the 21st century West, Miss Sadder's concept certainly gives us a critical perspective on the teeth-cleaning industry—masters of manufactured demand that they could be accused of being.
Sam Dunne is a designer, strategist and writer based in London. Sam is founder of design strategy agency Cohere and Contributing Editor at Core77—reporting broadly on design, technology, food and object culture.