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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.


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"Polo Stables" featuring a Grass Roof for Horses to Roam

Architecturenicole ziziComment

Okay, so this isn't a home- I initially thought it was, but I can imagine this building being put into a home design. This is the stables for polo star Nacho Figueras on the flatlands of La Pampa near General Rodríguez, a city within the capital of Argentina. The project is built mainly of concrete and hardwoods, chosen for beauty and low maintenance. What I find most intriguing is the way the roof melds in to the landscape. The roof is sloped and merges into the landscape, making it easy for the horses to roam between the roof and the ground floor. 


Concrete house in Buenos Aires by Besonías Almeida

Architecture, Designnicole ziziComment

Besonías Almeida built a house in Buenos Aires using concrete and dark laminated timber. The house was designed so the clients could live both indoors and outside.  The home features a partially covered garage that can fit three cars, and slots in the home that allows for trees to grow. 

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