Cork, flax, coconut, seaweed and starch... In part two of our Special Report on next-gen materials from Formes de Luxe's summer issue, consultancy MaterialDriven shortlists material innovations to watch in the luxury space.
"To be relevant today, a material has to provide solutions to several problems at once: the mass increase in waste and resource depletion, and its impact on the environment, and also our search for well-being," comments Purva Chawla, Founder and Partner at MaterialDriven, who curated the selection of materials below for Formes de Luxe.
Cocoboard: coconut husks versus MDF
Cocoboard was created by the Swiss company NaturLoop. "This bio-composite made from coconut husks and a bio-based binder is an attractive alternative to conventional MDF, which contributes to the overexploitation of forests." With no VOC emissions and a mechanical strength that is reputedly superior to MDF, Cocoboard also helps reduce waste.
Cocoboard is designed as an alternative to MDF ©NaturLoop
Cruz Foam: bye-bye bubble wrap
An alternative to bubble wrap and petroleum-based foam, the biopolymer foam made by Cruz Foam (United States) is composed of chitin, starch, and natural by-products. "In terms of protection, it outperforms existing plastic-based products. In terms of being compostable, it exceeds current regulations." The material is available in four forms: films, envelopes, inserts, and panels that provide 48-hour insulation.
Cruz Foam looks to replace bubble wrap and petroleum-based foam ©Cruz Foam
Seaweed turns shock-resistant
"In Denmark, Kathryn Larsen transforms seaweed into shockresistant bio-plastics." And on her site (Studio Kathryn Larsen), she shares her recipes, which include ingredients like agar-agar, water, glycerol, dulse, and spirulina. "Using seaweed polysaccharides, she makes rigid sheets akin to stained glass."
Shockresistant bio-plastics made from seaweed ©Studio Kathryn Larsen
Flax gives life to Ekoa
San Francisco-based Lingrove is behind Ekoa, "a high-performance veneer material made of flax fiber and plant-based bio-resin that is Clean Air Gold certified. Lighter and more resistant than steel and carbon fiber, it is also translucent." In addition, flax is an ultra-fast-growing plant.
Ekoa is a veneer material made of flax fiber and plant-based bio-resin ©Lingrove
Cork meets concrete with Corcrete
Corcrete (Studio Niruk, Germany) is a composite material created from cork and concrete. "Together, these two ingredients form surfaces that are at once warm and elegant, and lighter than traditional concrete, with the acoustic properties of natural cork."