These Lamps Are Made From... Banana Peels!

Aug 15, 2021by Olivia - F&F

Imagine if all your banana peels could be recycled into something beautiful and functional? Well, two French designers have come up with a way to transform discarded banana peels into unique light coverings — let’s take a look at how they did it!

Dorian Etienne’s ‘Nuclée’ Lamps

The “light bulb idea” struck French designers Dorian Étienne and Cordélia Faure at a six-month artists residency in Taiwan. During their time at the National Taiwan Craft Research Institute (N.T.C.R.I.), the duo became fascinated with the excess waste from banana plantations and how it could be transformed into a stable material. The French designers were deeply inspired by the techniques used by the Kavalan aboriginal tribe! 

“Settled near Hualien, on the east coast of Taiwan, the Kavalan aboriginal tribe is expert in the use of banana fibre: they make it their traditional clothing. I had the chance to meet them, to share their way of life and to learn from their elders the ancestral techniques to use this plant,” said Dorian Étienne.

How Are The Banana Lamps Made?

These minimal, mood-setting lamps are made from banana skins that have been through a special refining technique. This technique applies different pressures and heat parameters to create a stable material. 

“By a particular refining technique, this plant tissue is stabilized in a colour range from white to dark brown. This new material is sublimated here in curved bamboo shapes, inspired by the banana tree structure. The banana flesh, big waste from this traditional extraction, reveals a fascinating graphic in the light,” said Dorian Étienne.

You’re probably wondering: if it’s made from banana skins, won’t it just break down over time? Well, Dorian and Cordélia tested the material to see how it would react to heat, cold, humidity, and pressure. The end result was a success!

From Food Waste To Functional Décor

We waste a fair amount of food here in Australia; enough to fill around 13,000 Olympic sized swimming pools!

Bananas are actually one of the most commonly discarded food items, but many small or irregular shaped bananas don’t even make it to the supermarket — that’s why it’s estimated that 37,000 tonnes of bananas are discarded from farms every year in Australia.

It’s crazy, right? Aside from reducing our food waste and distributing food to those who need it most, we also need to come up with creative ways to use the “waste” from foods — like banana peels! The Nuclée lamps are a perfect example of taking a waste product and turning it into something beautiful and functional.

Banana Peel MaterialBanana Peel Material

Sustainable Designs For The Future

What we love about these banana lamps is that each one is 100% unique, and it reflects the natural variation in colours that we see on banana skins! What’s more impressive is that the sustainable design showcases the limitless potential of food waste as a recyclable material. That’s why the creative design has earned itself the Green Product Award Laureate (Berlin, 2021) and the “Best of Year” Grand Prize (New York, 2020). 

Researchers are constantly coming up with fascinating ways to upcycle food “waste” into new materials, faux leather, foods, beverages and snacks.

Recently, a team of researchers from the University of Tokyo discovered a way to transform food scraps like cabbage leaves, pumpkin skins and seaweed into sturdy, long-lasting building materials. You can read more about it here!

In the future, we’d love to see more lamps made out of food waste in our homes! Plus, we can’t wait to see what Dorian Étienne and Cordélia Faure come up with next. If you'd like some more information on the project, check out their article here.

Interested in sustainable designs? Take a look at these blogs for more inspiration! 

Here’s How Scientists Are Transforming Food Scraps Into Building Materials!

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These Recycled Skateboard Wheels Are Made From… Chewing Gum!

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