Sunflower – Leather / Foamboard / Composite / Hardboard

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Sunflowers are commonly farmed to produce oil, seeds or bio-fuel. After pressing the oil out, a part can be used as animal feed – the press cake – but most of the crop remain unused. The stalk’s foamy structure, the strong fiber of the bark or the flower’s dark brown proteins are left behind. These agro-waste can be valuable resources to produce novel bio materials.

No synthetic binder, no toxic varnish, all the necessary ingredients are extracted from the sunflower crop. The press cake – the remain of Sunflower seed after the oil has been extracted – is turned into a water based glue and heat pressed into a thin and flexible film resembling leather.

Sunflower Leather Foamboard Composite Hardboard

Traditionally, only the flower head is harvested in late summer. However, the stalk of the plant can also be used. Harvested a month after the flower head, the bark – fibers – can be separated from the marrow – foamy structure. The bark’s fibers are heat pressed into hardboard while the marrow is shaped into an aggregate, a natural alternative to polystyrene. These different bio-materials can be coated with a Sunflower varnish to enhance their resistance to water. The glue extracted from the seeds is the perfect adhesive to assemble these different materials. The Sunflower crop offers a unique range of bio-based and bio-degradable material. Entering the realm of bio-plastics, a vast number of applications of what was previously considered waste becomes possible: from a tiny bolt to a large insulation panel, from a bio-board to an smartphone case.

concept & design by studio Thomas Vailly for Atelier Luma
In collaboration the INRA/INP-ENSIACET, A. Rouilly & P. Evon

Sunflower Leather Foamboard Composite Hardboard
Sunflower Leather Foamboard Composite Hardboard
Sunflower Leather Foamboard Composite Hardboard

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