By Sun Kim
Posting in Architecture
Coffee grounds from the world's 1.6 billions cups of coffee per day usually end up in the trash or compost. Spanish designer Raul Lauri shows a brighter way to recycle those grounds.
Coffee grounds usually end up in the trash or compost. At best they become fertilizer. Spanish designer Raul Lauri hopes that will change with his Decafe collection which he debuted at last week's Salone. The products and his research explore coffee grounds as a biodegradable and renewable material.
The introductory line of table, pendant lamps, floor lamps, and decorative tableware are all made of heat and pressure treated coffee grounds. The objects are familiar and comforting in shape and aroma. The most intriguing are the table lamps shaped like mugs. They operate without a switch and are turned on and off by placing them on their accompanying base.
Worldwide, over 1.6 billion cups of coffee a day are consumed, according to the International Coffee Organization. Looking at something we forget is a waste product is the kind of creative approach designers need to find new materials, and judges of the Milan Design Week 2012 agreed. Lauri's work in developing a new sustainable composite material won this year's Salone Satellite Award.
Images: copyright Raul Delauri
May 1, 2012
If you can replace dirt at racetracks for horses with composites including old discarded underwear, I guess you can make light fixtures out of old coffee grounds, or recycled old discarded underwear. These lights may smell like coffee as they warm up, but I'm not so sure about the charming frangrance issued by lights made from recycled underpants. Although the racetrack use is good (fewer injuries for the horses), I'm not really happy about the light fixtures, etc. for the coffee grounds, which should be used (my opinion) to grow food, etc. Maybe they could put it into chicken feed and we can have mocha flavored eggs in the morning.
I am not surprised coffee grounds can be part of the future's lighting. Just as I am not surprised should the Hudson Hornet be reincarnated and used as an interspace vehicle. However, for the meantime, I will continue to use coffee grounds for 2 specific results: 1) Ants, and various other insects, do not like coffee grounds, so I use that in my garden; 2) Coffee grounds, when placed into dirt, draw earthworms, so I use that in my garden. One of the beneficial usages of coffee grounds, should you be so inclined, is the cuppa.
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So after all the extra processing, how much would one of these lamps cost to make, let alone how much is the designer charging for them? It really doesn't matter because whatever it costs to make, the users who do buy them, if any will still pay an arm and a leg for this waste which is waste and should better be left on the compost heap where it really belongs.