Castor oil

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Castor oil

Ricino

Ricino is a series of lamps with an almost incorporeal appearance, made of plant-based castor oil resin. The proposal brings to light the living aspect of the material, exalting its aesthetic qualities and proposing an alternative application to its original technical use.

The project arises from the studio’s interest in natural resins, a research process that began in 2018. In the search for a mouldable material with good resistance to temperature variations, the plant-based castor polymer derived from castor oil (Ricinus communis) processing came up. Its thermal stability allied with its visual aspect – with an amber and transparent colour – inspired the development of the collection, which has resin as a central element.

Developed by the University of Sao Paulo, it is mainly used in civil construction as a waterproofing agent or varnish. Characteristics such as its physical-chemical stability, elasticity, and ability to adhere to porous materials make this polymer very efficient in sustainably replacing petroleum derivatives.

However close observation can show something beyond this function: when placed against light, the material produces an orange glow, warm and ethereal. From this perception, a study was planned in order to understand the material’s applications, behaviour and limits, with the objective of enabling the casting of large portions of resin mass.

The result is a series of table, wall and floor lamps composed of resin filters structured by aluminium supports.

Additional information

Over the last few years, several experiments have been carried out to adapt its characteristics and potential for use in design. For the technical development and finalisation of the project, a 3D modelling software was used, making it possible to calculate mass and volume to produce moulds and parts. The lighting is linear and made by LED systems.

From the shapes, textures, densities, and tones tested, the results explore the strength of the material, without giving up its delicate nature. The design of the filters takes advantage of the volume of material to create gradients of colour that vary along the body of the lamps. In addition, the irregular line created by the puddled edges intends to capture the casting process, preserving the initial liquid aspect of the resin. This allows the final form of the piece to tell the story of its production process.

The material is cold pressed, with low power consumption, in a process free of water consumption. Resulting from 100% solid products, free of solvents or heavy metals in its formulation, it has countless advantages for being non-toxic, biodegradable and compostable. It is a waterproof, bi-component resin that forms a monolithic membrane on surfaces, with considerable physical-chemical stability, elasticity, impermeability and adherence to other materials.

Ricino is an ongoing research, which aims to explore new possibilities of use and application for materials from renewable sources.

Text submitted by the maker

Ingredient list

Castor oil, aluminium, LED strip

Credits

Mariana Ramos, Ricardo Innecco, Guilherme Pimenta, Donizeti Luciano, Gilberto Silva, Roque Alvilez, Carol Piccin

Photo credits

Alex Batista, Claraboia filmes