The making of BoracayDec 09, 2013

Arte International sent us a fascinating piece on how their amazing collection Boracay is made and I thought I'd share it with you...

"Boracay offers you eco-friendly products from rapidly renewable resources...

Bananas are the fourth largest fruit crop in the world. In the past, once the bananas had been harvested, the mother trunk and its leaves decomposed. Now, once the plant has given its fruit, the banana leaves are hand harvested and bought from the banana farmers, and in this way become a source of income for the communities. Fibres from the trunks are spun into clothing fabric, fishing lines and food mats, the banana leaves are being used in cooking and are now the base material for an exclusive wallcovering.

As in all things created by nature this plant (Musa Acunimata) has its own character. Its leaves have a satin feel and its lines look as if drawn by an artist’s hand. Once dried, coloured and woven, the interplay of the different shades has a depth and texture like no other natural material has.

Making Boracay 1

Top from left: The Banana plant is a fast growing plant in the tropics; Dried leaves are ready for finishing.

Middle from left: The leaves are being prepared to be laminated on recycled paper boards; Colouration of the base material.

Bottom from left: The base material is cut into strips; The strips are handwoven in a random pattern.

The water hyacinth is a floating plant. Its pretty lavender flowers belie the havoc it creates in waterways. Uncontrolled, it impacts the water flow: The water hyacinth abstracts the oxygen from the water and in that way, kills the underwater life. However, the plant still has its use in the production of bio-gas and paper and now it is the base material for a beautiful wallcovering.

The water hyacinth is a plant, not a tree, so there is no deforestation involved. The plants are renewing rapidly, growing back in only a few months. Being removed from waterways and lakes, the communities benefit from clean water and a new source of income. So both natural environment and the people benefit from harvesting this rapidly renewing resource.

Processing the hyacinth requires drying its stalks thoroughly after which the inner foam is removed. The stalks are flattened to resemble thin, soft sheets of wood. Its natural colour is a mix of light green, camel and dark brown. Each stalk is laminated by hand on a non-woven backing and finished to show its rich colour and texture. The individual colours are applied to create this extraordinary and highly exclusive wallcovering.

Making Boracay 2

Top from left: The water hyacinth stalks are harvested from the river; The stalks are dried under the sun for about one week.

Middle from left: The stalks are cleaned, and the inner foam is being removed; Flattened stalks are bundled.

Bottom from left: By hand the processed stalks are laminated on a non-woven backing; The wallcovering is given its final colour."

Now THIS is the sort of great product the interior design world needs more of: using a by-product (banana leaves) and a 'weed' that's damaging waterways (hyacinth). Inspiring stuff!

Have a great week.


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