Vegan 'leaf leather' furniture crafted from the elephant ear plant

Brazilian design studio ‘Furf’ has created a new furniture range crafted from ‘leaf leather.’ Similar in texture to Piñatex — a material made from waste pineapple leaves — the textile called ‘beLEAF’ is a leather-like material made from the leaves of the elephant ear plant. As its name suggests, the tropical-looking plant (also called Colocasia) has large leaves which resemble the animal’s ears. 

The material is the result of five years of research, and is produced by ‘Nova Kaeru’ an organic tannery based in Brazil. beLEAF has similar material characteristics to traditional leather, but is formed from 100% plant-based material and is designed to ‘breathe’. Unlike animal-based textiles, the manufacturing process of beLEAF produces far less C02 and the construction process is compensated by the plant’s absorption of C02 during its growth.

To maintain the elephant ear plant leaves’ natural texture and shape, Furf don’t mix the leaves with polymers and other fibrous materials. Recycled steel is initially welded into the furniture's frame, and the leafy designs are fashioned into chair seats. “The six feet refer to both creatures and a spatial functional aesthetic,” the Furf team explains. “A hybridism between the industrial and artisanal, the sterile and fertile, the past and the future.”

To view more about the collection, visit Furf’s website.

To learn more about biomaterials click here

All image credits: Ricardo Perini / Furf

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