Today, April 22, 2015, is Earth Day and throughout the day Curbed is going to be bringing you news from the worlds of sustainable design, architecture and general innovation awesomeness.
Long a go-to resource for design innovators in every industry, Material ConneXion's (MCX) catalogue of over 7,500 textiles, surfaces, and more is pretty staggering. Perhaps even more exciting, especially on this hallowed Earth Day, is the number of products available at MCX made from surprising organic compounds—nearly 1,400 and counting. There are, of course, products derived from common natural fibers like jute, flax, and hemp, but there are also ones manufactured from less conventional sources like seaweed. We asked Dr. Andrew Dent, the Vice President of Material ConneXion's library and materials research arm, about some of the company's standout organics-based products and their current—and potential—applications.
Algae, Dent notes, "has been successfully used as photovoltaic cells in window panels for architecture." And, if you're worried about having to sacrifice your interior style for ecological reasons, don't. "There are upholstery, drapery, wall and bed linen fabrics produced from both sugarcane and corn that have performance equivalent to existing materials," Dent explains.
Below, 5 standout products on the cutting-edge of bio-design:
Solaplast from Algix, LLC (Algae Plastic)
"Algae may be one of our planet's most valuable materials in the future."
MyCo Board from Ecovative Design LLC
"I have always been excited by the origins of these fungi-based products. I never expected such from the humble mushroom!"
Bioleather from Thainanocellulose Co. Ltd.
"The ability of bacteria to produce membranes still fascinates me. That they can do it with nothing more than a sugary solution is truly amazing."
Biomattone from Equilibrium Srl
"Blocks as durable and hard as concrete from natural fibers? This is an innovation I will be keeping my eye on."
Milkweed Insulation from Encore 3, a division of Protec-Style Inc.
"It is great to see other fibrous plant materials offering competition to our synthetic fibers and insulation."
The rest of your required reading for Earth Day:
Why Doesn't the World Have More Wooden Skyscrapers?
Remarkable Solar Housing for Medics in Rural Burundi