Part of my continuing vision for the future of architectural lighting is the potential to use natural bio-mass materials for fixture housings, instead of the high-embodied energy materials like steel and aluminum. An example of this is a design project from Berlin-based Studio Aisslinger creating a molded chair using natural hemp and kenaf fibers with an innovative new eco-friendly acrylic binder from BASF called Acrodur.
The *hemp chair* has been designed for a lightweight manufacturing process stemming from the car industry: the renewable raw materials hemp and kenaf are compressed with a water-based thermoset binder to form an eco-friendly, lightweight and yet strong composite.
What impressed me most about this material usage is that it is not a “fluffy” design concept: These sorts of materials are in mass production for automotive panels. Below is a picture of a door panel from a BMW Series 7, produced by German OEM supplier Draexlmaier.