Linen, potato peel, cocoa: New materials in architecture and design


From bridges and houses to furniture, what if polluting raw materials could be replaced by more sustainable alternatives? This has been the objective of several projects around the world in recent years, each as surprising as the next.

A bridge made of hemp and flax fibers

On April 22, Earth Day, the inauguration of a new type of bridge in the Netherlands made the news. Here there was no sign of concrete, but a structure made entirely of hemp and flax fibers and bio-resin.

Sensors were installed on the construction to assess the strength of the bridge over time, including its ability to withstand weather and vibration. Behind this innovative project is a French company called Eco Techni Lin, headed by Thibault Roumier.

Widely used in the textile industry, but also in the automobile and sports industry, flax has the major advantage of requiring far fewer resources and of developing independently in many regions, both in Normandy and in the Pays -Low.

It is a material that could therefore have a real future in the construction sector.

Spectacle frames made from potato peelings

Always in the spirit of opting for more ecological and sustainable materials, others are inspired by plants. If it is no longer surprising to see apple or grape leather shoes, we could one day come across furniture or eyeglass frames made of… potato peelings!

It was the brainchild of two English graphic design students who developed a material from potato peelings that can be used as a board-like product for furniture making, such as MDF (fiberboard medium density).

The objective was to offer a more ecological alternative to MDF, while limiting food waste. It was an end-of-year project launched in 2019, which eventually turned into real business and gave birth to the “Chip(s) Board” range, still on the market today.

In addition to upholstery materials, the company now offers eyeglass frames made from potato peelings, as well as a range of translucent pure and fiber-reinforced bioplastics for fashion and home decor.

Buildings designed with recycled cocoa fibers

It is this year that work on the “Cocoa Eco Village” should start. Located in the town of Pedernales in northwest Ecuador, this eco-village project was designed by Italian architect Valentino Gareri, who designed buildings made with recycled cocoa fibers using a 3D printer.

Carried out in collaboration with the chocolatier Muze and the Avanti association, the project plans to build a cocoa processing plant there in order to “produce new ethical cocoa-based products, which are highly traceable and offset the carbon footprint”.

Entirely eco-designed, the future houses of the eco-village will be equipped with a roof that can collect rainwater, as well as natural ventilation. – AFP Relax news


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