What do you get when you mix a natural material used in a new way with a conscious choice of saving the eco-system? You get that distinctive feeling of being part of the solution, instead of the problem. Brazilian born designer Mauricio Affonso of LuffaLab found a way to create acoustic tiles from the tropical vine plant providing raw material for the beauty industry. The recent graduate from the Design Products program at the Royal College of Art in London explores new applications for the luffa material with his INDIGO Acoustic Tiles made of molded Luffa.
Decorative and functional, these geometric 3D tiles are an artistic portray of reality, as well as an innovative and creative solution for the reality it portrays: “The indigo color is achieved by reusing waste water from the denim-dyeing industry. Like most textiles, denim-making starts with plain white cotton. What many people don’t realize is that blue-jean process is poisonous to water supplies in communities such as Xintang, China. Luffa’s highly absorbent fibbers can be used to soak up these harmful dyes that would otherwise be discharged. The result is a series of beautiful indigo wall tiles suitable for home and office interiors.”
Luffa or loofah is not only a popular beauty product, but also a vegetable eaten in its early development stage. Once a luffa fruit is fully ripe, it becomes fibrous and means it can be molded into functional or sculptural objects. We’ve seen the sustainable, eco-friendly cork being used to create curvaceous sofas or push-pin resembling tables easily flipped to become stools. Will we be seeing more Luffa products with a will to change the world in the future?