We've seen an explosion of hybrid materials in architecture and design in recent years and with the recent conclusion of 2014's Salone del Mobile, we've now seen even more. When urine replaces water to produce a composite stronger than concrete and when hemp encloses a building, we have to stop and say woah!
Onyx Sofa by Peugeot Design Lab
After 70 days of selective chiseling and then joining, the Peugeot Design Lab formed a sofa with a chunk of lava stone and woven carbon fibre. With the wealth of lava spewing from active volcanoes around the world continually growing the amount of basalt and the high strength to volume ratio of the woven carbon pieces, this marriage of high tech and nature is one with a lot of potential for exploration.
De Natura Fossilium by Studio Formafantasma
Sicily's active volcano, Mt Etna, erupts on a regular basis, oozing basalt lava in a controlled manner. The region already uses the ubiquitous resource for everyday objects such as pumice stones and tourist souvenirs, but this series is bigger than handheld objects. Uniting CNC milled basalt with brass detailing and mouth-blown glass from melted rocks - also from Etna's surroundings - created a sophisticated and successful experiment with Genius Loci at the furniture scale.
Sparkle Krib by Karim Rashid for LG Hausys’ HI-MACS
Flexible and durable, the new generation stone by LG Hausys begins as a liquid resin comprised of bauxite stone and acrylic which hardens into a strong composite. Karim Rashid pushed its limits by imagining curvaceous seats and tables to utilize its inherently structural qualities.
Mycelium Chair by Eric Klarenbeek
When nature in its truest state can be layered into a new creation, green design is taken to a new level. Imagine the possibilities for a line of living furniture! Sustainability at its finest.
Gas Receiving Station by Studio Marco Vermeulen
The extreme material craze has also hit architecture, this time cladding a building by Dutch firm Studio Marco Vermeulen in a bio-resin reinforced with hemp fibres. Agricultural and horticultural residues are a valuable resource and can now become raw construction materials, preventing the decomposition process which releases gases which degrade the atmosphere. The bas-relief panels depict the letters representing the chemical composition of the material, a ratio of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen.
Artichoke Thistle Lounge Chair by Spyros Kizis
Growing wild in Greece, the Artichoke Thistle is another plant perfect for bio-resin applications. Plant fibre meets epoxy resin for a biodegradable result, letting its solid state be composted as soon as furnishing trends shift.
Concrete Flex by Remy & Veenhuizen
Concrete is a sustainable material, especially with the recent inclusion of industrial slag and waste as a strengthening agent, but the waste generated from the concrete pouring process is the wooden formworks. Exploring different moulds with forms, Remy & Veenhuizen used flexible formworks suspended within a hanging chain model style framework, producing unique and strong results. Resembling inflated mattresses, these chairs are inexpensive and long-lasting.
Dupe by Peter Trimble
Urine, bacteria and sand are combined in a small-scale manufacturing plant to produce the strangest material composition we've heard of so far and yet they come together to form a greenhouse gas-free raw material as strong as concrete. Conducive to a range of applications from bricks to street furniture, this conglomerate will serve both the fields of architecture and design. This one only makes us wonder "why haven't we seen this before?"