6 Designers Exploring Strange – and Sustainable – Materials

6 Designers Exploring Strange – and Sustainable – Materials

Packaging made from algae, bowls shaped from sugarcane, chairs crafted from artichokes – these sustainable material explorations by AMAM Design Group, Ella Bulley, Spyros Kizis and others look good enough to eat. 


1 Agar Plasticity by AMAM Design Group 
This material exploration from Japanese collective AMAM just earned the 2016 Lexus Design Award’s Grand Prix during Milan Design Week. Agar, derived from red algae, is consumed as food in Japan and AMAM is experimenting with the dried medium as a sustainable packing material that could replace plastic or styrofoam.



2 Artichair by Spyros Kizis
The recipe for this moulded chair, now produced by Schaffenburg Office Furniture, includes artichoke thistle pulp and a resin made from used cooking oil.




3 Project Saccharum by Ella Bulley
This series of dishes and vessels is hand-sculpted from solid blocks made from sugar cane and ranges in tone from bright white to pale grey.



4 Bio-vide by Takuma Yamazaki 
Shown during Milan Design Week, this table top is made using fallen leaves, collected from the ground. Formed in thin sheets, the material can be used as paper; thicker panels can be used as durable surfacing. 




5 MycoTex dress by Aniela Hoitink
We’ve seen mycelium used as a building material, including in The Living‘s 2014 MoMA PS1 HyFi pavilion. Now, Aniela Hoitink has created a mushroom textile – formed with circular modules – which she’s used to tailor a compostable dress.




6 Nani bench by Joa Herrenknecht
This brilliant blue bench is upholstered in a food industry by-product: salmon leather. Available in other hues as well, the scaley fabric is sourced from certified eco-friendly organic farms.

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