Now on view in London at 19 Greek Street: acoustic tiles made from the luffa plant and coloured with denim wastewater. A design by Brazilian born designer Mauricio Affonso.
Luffa is a tropical, courgette-like fruit that can be eaten as vegetable when harvested at a young stage. When fully ripened the fruit is very fibrous and used as a natural sponge with great skin exfoliation and cleansing qualities.
In his Luffa Lab in London Mauricio Affonso has been exploring new applications for luffa material. Luffa fibres form a complex network of cellulose that act like an open cell foam material that is both extremely strong and lightweight. Affonso invented applications for the highly absorbent and antimicrobial material in packaging, filters, low cost splints and acoustic insulation.
The new applications serve a local craft community in the Minas Gerais region in Brazil depending on luffa as their only source of income. At the same time Affonso’s designs benefit the environment, for instance by preventing toxic wastewater from denim production, which he uses to colour the acoustic tiles, to flow into the river.
The Luffa Acoustic Tiles are currently on show at London design gallery 19 Greek Street in an exhibition called Foreces of Nature with sustainable designs by seven designers. Affonso’s tiles are also nominated for the Design Museum Designs of the Year 2014.