In Milan it’s time for a new Design Week. All eyes locked (also those of visitors arriving in the city) to all the news that design and furnishing companies will offer to the public, as well as new collaborations and collections. Yet, often the new is something that comes unexpectedly, as elements used in an alternative way and – as we should be exercised to – coming from Mother Nature, who kindly gave the creative inspiration to a good artist ready to catch it.
This happened to Šimon Kern, a Slovak designer who has found an innovative way to use leaf litter turning them into green furniture. Thus, he created Beleaf, a biodegradable chair made from recycled leaves, bio-resin, and steel, developed during his studies at the Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Labem, Czech Republic, as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic furnishing. Crafted by mixing the leaf litter with the bio-resin, made mostly from leftover cooking oil, and pressing the mixture into a mold, once hardened and sanded, the molded seat is set atop a tubular steel skeleton symbolizing a tree’s trunk with full of leaves.
If the seat breaks, (the steel skeleton is going to last for a hundred years) it can be reused as fertilizer for the land or, why not?, for a tree and maybe use its leaves to create a new chair. A practical use of the leaves, especially those destined to become garbage in the city, which encourages a substantial shift from plastic to readily available and recyclable materials. Moreover, the name of the chair says everything: beleaf literally translated as be a leaf, but the pronunciation acts the similar belief, the idea that underlies in all of us.