Designers Transform Macadamia Nuts, Shale And Paper Into Furniture

Designers Transform Macadamia Nuts, Shale And Paper Into Furniture

Unique materials inspire designers to create unexpected products.

Dave Pinter, PSFK
  • 9 june 2014

There was so much to see at NYCxDesign 2014 that one look was often all the time there was in order to see everything. But what might look like a fairly common bowl or lamp at first glance sometimes reveals an innovate material use upon a closer look. Here is a collection of products we found making use of unexpected material in a really elegant way.

Omaggio all’artigiano by Luca Galbusera with Alessi and Italcementi, and LPWK Design Studio
Material: Cement

“Omaggio all’artigiano” (Homage to the Artisan) are a series of indoor/outdoor bowls that won the #Concrete In Design competition. Omaggio all’artigiano” is designed by Luca Galbusera with the participation of LWPK and for Alessi and Italcementi. Galbusera created the bowls with EFFIX, a specially formulated cement that can be worked like plastic. Omaggio all’artigiano is a nod to the craft of traditional basket weaving reinterpreted in a modern material.


Rock Collection by 13&9
Material: Stone Shale

Previously never used in a lighting application, 13&9 discovered a way to shave stone shale razor-thin so it could be wrapped into a lamp shade. A similar technique has been used with wood veneer for a long time and a similar glowing effect happens when the stone shade is illuminated. Natural variations in the stone create patterns actually become translucent when back illuminated.

rock light                     Graz 04.2014         13&9 design

rock light                     Graz 04.2014         13&9 design
rock light                     Graz 04.2014         13&9 design


Husque by Marc Harrison
Material: Macadamia nut shells

Australia is the worlds largest supplier of macadamia nuts and a by-product of that is around 24,500 tons of waste shells each year. Designer Marc Harrison developed a method for combining ground up shells with a polymer resin to create a composite that could be molded. He has designed a series of tabletop products using the material which retains the natural macadamia shell color.




 Infinity Screen by David Weeks Studio
Material: Paper

Created from die-cut pieces of paper, the Infinity Screen looks more like something fabricated from plastic or metal. A single paper component is designed with attachment points allowing them to interlock together. Straight or curved screens can be created using an aluminum track, the only non-paper component in the system. David Weeks Studio installed several screens in their Manhattan showroom hanging about 14′ from ceiling to floor. The relative lightweight of the system means long lengths of Infinity Screens can be installed without any extra structural reinforcement.





CYQL by DesignLaboratorie

Material: Bicycle inner tubes

Providence, RI based designer Sophie Hones created the CYQL ottoman as a way to up-cycle bike inner tubes which don’t disintegrate naturally. Hones gets spent inner tubes donated from local bike shops, washes them and sews them together.  An inflatable ball is used as the substructure over which the inner tubes are wrapped by hand. Hones pulls and stretches the inner tubes so each ottoman takes on a slightly different shape. Many of the scars of use are left on the inner tubes like patches so each ottoman is unique.



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