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Material Research and Exploration: Tagua Nuts

Textiles, Designnicole ziziComment

Tagua Nut,


often called a vegetable ivory. An alternative to elephant. Mainly grown in Ecaudor. Can be carved into sculptures, buttons, jewlrey, and industrial products.

Decreases deforstation, and promotes the growth of Tagua palm trees. Despite the perspective of human management of nature a negative effect, Tagua nut Palm trees actually flourish with human management. Human interaction can actually be essential for the conservation of this tree species.


Absorbs dye like a dream.

Great for industial products, product design and fashion.

Very hard, dense material.



The Tagua fruit is collected from the trees and dried for four up to eight weeks, after which period they become hard

Shells are cracked to extract the nuts, and each nut is cleaned and shaped as desired

The Tagua is dye in the desired colors

After dyed, the nut is again exposed to the sun for one week to two weeks (depends if the season is rainy or dry)

Finally, after drying up the nut the artisan uses sealers to hold the color before polishing the nut


Tagua tree produces three crops a year.

Each Tagua plant produces, 15 fruits that are similar to pine apples, with about 30-80 nuts.

This material has been used as early as colonial times by the spainiards, used for buttons, umbrellas, walking sticks, pipes, napkin rings, chess pieces.

Taguas palm tree is also used for roof construction, and powder to feed cattle in equador.

In one year, the Tagua palm tree produces 20lbs of ivory vs elephant producing only 20lbs in a lifetime.


Ecuadorian Hands Colombian Indiarts One World Fair Trade

Innovative Textiles & Design: Mushroom mycelium used to create suede-like furniture

nicole zizi1 Comment

"Sebastian Cox a British furniture maker has teamed up with researcher Ninela Ivanova to explore the mycelium mushroom material's potential in commercial furniture design."


"Mycellium is formed from the vegetative part of a fungus – has been used in various architecture and design experiments recently, including a self-supporting structural column and an intricately textured dress.

But Cox and Ivanova wanted to use the fungal material to create more everyday products. Their project, called Mycelium + Timber, features a series of simple stools and lights with a suede-like texture, designed to suit any domestic interior." via Deezeen

Mycellium has become a very interesting material designers have been exploring recently and it has a strong possibility of becoming an alternative for leather on a consumer level. What really excites me as a designer is that this material is extremely easy to harvest and requires little sunlight, and no heat. Which makes this material an ideal candidate for mass consumed enviornmental products.


Photography is by PetEr Krejci.