Neflium is a biomaterial designed by Studio Hole as part of research on the use of food "waste" by applying the "Bio-Upcycling" philosophy created in collaboration with Biology Studio and other different circular methodologies.
It can be classified as fruit leather, created from organic waste from rambutan and other biodegradable components, it is a material that is like leather, sharing some aesthetic characteristics but with particular and unique properties. Depending on the formula and components, Neflium can vary its flexibility and resistance, but always keeps a sweet smell, and a rough but curious and natural texture. The most important thing about its composition is that it is made only with biodegradable and non-toxic ingredients, also designed with a "Cradle to Cradle" approach, always thinking from the perspective of the natural cycles of organic matter. At this moment it is presented in complete black and in a chromatic palette of warm colours, from brown to red, also extracted from food waste.
Like leather, Neflium can be used to craft objects with traditional leatherwork techniques or can even be crafted with digital fabrication tools. A lot of different explorations were already made using both. Two specific practical applications are presented in here, one is a case for headphones and the other is a wallet. Both applications were designed and made with the same eco-design principles of Neflium, for example, avoiding the use of glue, paint, toxic chemicals, or dangerous components. On the other hand, it was also important for the project to make useful objects with an elegant and sober aesthetic appearance that people would like.
Some objects are commonly fabricated with animal leather, which uses a lot of water and toxic chemical in its production and causes a tremendous environmental impact. What was tried to achieve, was to design a collection of objects to replace common-use disposable products that are made with toxic and long-term degradable materials that affect not only humans but other forms of life and the different interactions between them.
The most important part of the project is to show that what some people consider “waste”, in fact, can be used to create meaningful objects that at some point, will re-enter the matter cycle and that they need to do it without negative affecting ecosystems in the process.
Neflium it’s a noble material designed with a circular approach that has clear applications for fashion and design.
Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.
Rambutan waste, water, glycerine, cassava starch, natural colourants extracted from food waste.