Made in

Composite 97 Recycled 121 Polystyrene 2


Photos: Narayani Mahesh

Re-imagining Materials

The material world is connected to everyday life, playing a substantial part in the way we interact with objects, spaces as well as technologies.

Taking this mundane scenario, there is an exigency to re-write our perceptions, to understand what materials can do and what their potential is. This can be achieved through material innovation. Simultaneously, the discussions regarding throw-away culture, and circular economy are ongoing or in other words, there is an emerging consciousness regarding how we manufacture and consume.

The project aims to create a composite material from local materials, including waste materials which will otherwise contribute to the never-ending heaps of landfill. The project will in turn make the audience realise that for every material or object being thrown away, there is an alternative use. In other words, these can be recycled or reused wisely and efficiently. In this project, different material composites were developed using coconut shell powder, along with various binders, through the "Material Driven Design" approach. Among the new material composites "CRUST" was developed, which constitutes coconut shell powder and polystyrene waste, was explored through prototyping and the corresponding material experience vision was derived.

The project aims to reimagining two materials :
1. Coconut shells - in a coconut shell powder.
2. Thermocol or polystyrene waste

Additional information

These experiments were conducted based on the concept of efficient utilisation of an abundant local material: coconut shell. Re-imagining through use of the material grinding the coconut shell into a powder.

Once the materials were ready for further exploration, the techniques were chosen. Hand-building, moulding, texturing, slabbing, pinching, coil building and corresponding prototypes were made, based on these processes.

The sequence that describes the making of the material composite is:

Coconut shell - Shell powder - Hard crust (back to the hardened form)
The material composite has a built-in appearance that is deep-rooted to the source of the material, which is the coconut shell. The colour of the material can be described as earthy and rustic, with a matte-like finish. Alongside this, it is lightweight. These aspects of the material composite have contributed to the name, “CRUST“.

Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.


Coconut shell powder, polystyrene waste