luffa lab: sustainably made products by mauricio affonso
 
luffa lab: sustainably made products by mauricio affonso
sep 17, 2013

luffa lab: sustainably made products by mauricio affonso

luffa lab: sustainably made products by mauricio affonso
all images courtesy of luffa lab

 

 

 

exploring new applications for luffa material, brazilian born london-based designer mauricio affonso has produced a series of innovative products using the fast growing tropical vine plant. working in collaboration with a luffa community in bonfim a city in minas gerais, brazil, mauricio learned about the origins of luffa from farming communities, artisans and trading experts. the material originates from the same family as cucumbers, pumpkins and courgettes, and is traditionally used as a bath sponge – its vast range of properties also include being highly absorbent and antimicrobial.

 

 ‘I was inspired by the astonishing properties of luffa’ he says. ‘luffa fibres form a complex network of cellulose that act like an open cell foam material that is both extremely strong and lightweight’, says mauricio.

 

these features make it a viable material for applications such packaging, filters, low cost splints and acoustic insulator. formed by stretching the luffa fibres when wet and compressing them into a mould, the splints are made at a very low cost, providing an affordable solution for people living in countries with limited or no access to health care. strong, light-weight, breathable and completely biodegradable, the splints perform better than expensive, synthetically made ones.

 

 

luffa lab: sustainably made products by mauricio affonso
low cost luffa splint phototypes

 

 

additionally the project demonstrates how luffa can be used to soak up toxic dye waste from the denim industry. the resulting coloured luffa can then be moulded to form luffa acoustic wall tiles for home and commercial interiors.

 

‘it is not often that a designer will stumble upon a material that can offer so many possibilities’, mauricio explains, ‘the goal of luffa lab is to combine innovative designs that advance sustainable materials and practices that will entice a positive social and environmental outcome.’

 

luffa lab by mauricio affonso will be exhibited during the london design festival at the sustainrca show & awards 2013 from 20 september – 4 october.

 

 

luffa lab: sustainably made products by mauricio affonso
luffa acoustic tiles

 

 

luffa lab: sustainably made products by mauricio affonso
detail of luffa acoustic tiles

 

 

luffa lab: sustainably made products by mauricio affonso
luffa moulded packaging corners

 

 

luffa lab: sustainably made products by mauricio affonso
early experiments

 

 

luffa lab: sustainably made products by mauricio affonso
luffa community in bonfim, brazil

 

 

luffa lab: sustainably made products by mauricio affonso
luffa flower

 

 

luffa lab: sustainably made products by mauricio affonso
luffa vegetable

 

 

luffa lab: sustainably made products by mauricio affonso
mauricio peeling off skin of luffa

 

 

luffa lab: sustainably made products by mauricio affonso
drying luffas

 

 

luffa lab: sustainably made products by mauricio affonso
luffa fibres

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

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