Biomaterials aren’t always the most beautiful to work with (case in point, anything made with mycelium), but Eindhoven-based designer Thomas Vailly has figured out a way to turn sunflower crop byproduct into a gorgeous marble-like material that can be used to craft panels, home objects, and packaging.
Working with scientists from École Nationale Supérieure des Ingénieurs en Arts Chimiques et Technologiques, Vailly used the leftover parts of a sunflower harvest—things like stalks and the substance left behind after pressing the seeds for oil—to make glues, foam, and varnish.
The stalks, for instance, are separated into bark and marrow. The bark is then heated and pressed into hardboard; meanwhile, the marrow is combined with a water-based glue to create a foam-like material.
“The sunflower crop offers a unique range of bio-based and biodegradable material,” Vailly tells Dezeen. “What is important to keep in mind is that these bio-based materials are different from what the industry and consumers are used to. Bio-based materials are not to be seen as a replacement for their synthetic counterparts, they have different qualities that can be exploited.”
The exciting quality of this particular material is that it’s unusually beautiful. The hardboard and foam have a green and white pattern that almost looks like little stones that have been arranged into a rippled green slab of terrazzo.