Experimental Furniture Made from Waste Sugar Cane Fiber Bagasse (Photos)


All images via Designboom

We're intrigued by these experimental furniture pieces recently seen on Designboom. Made by Taiwanese design students Chen Wei-Che and Chung Yo-Hsun this chair and table are made from the waste sugarcane fibre bagasse. Now we've seen bagasse used to make disposable cutlery and plates and even as a biofuel for power stations, but this is the first time we've seen it used to make sturdy structures. We wonder how they hold up?

According to Designboom, "for every 10 tonnes of sugarcane crushed during the production process, nearly 3 tonnes of wet bagasse remains as residue. In Taiwan, where the sugar industry is largely present in the local economy, bagasse is
usually thrown out as trash or burned."

While we think using waste materials to make furniture is a great idea, but we're not totally sure about the resolution of these products either functionally or aesthetically.

The papier-mâché process used to make the chair and table, using short bagasse fibers and resin, results in a very fragile and wobbly looking structures. We like the way they've delicately balanced a Macbook on the desk for the photo. I fear I wouldn't want to lean to heavily on it though.

The hand made aesthetic has a certain charm, and brings to mind the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi - imperfect beauty. But we have to concur with a couple of insightful comments made on the Designboom post:

If the material is solid enough for furniture, great - but we need to see a person standing on the chair to be convinced. 'legs' don't seem the best solution for either the structure or aesthetic. Exciting contemporary material but shame about the ordinary furniture application. Keep at it :o)


Great to recycle fibers,,..but using resin makes plastic out of a perfectly recyclable material. Looking at the fibers, they are very short and even if they would have been carbon fiber the products will not be strong enough, also burning rest fibers is portrayed as a bad thing but it actually is a perfect way of getting carbon neutral energy when done in a decent power-plant (the co2 emitted when burning is the amount of co2 produced during the plants life). All in all nice attempt..but far from perfect and not thought through.

So what do you think? Ugly or beautiful? Functional or Impractical? Eco? Or does the resin cancel out the environmental benefits of using a waste material? Let us know.

More on Bagasse Products
Ask Pablo: Does This Compostable Plate Have To Go In The Compost? Can I Recycle It?
Greenwash Watch: Wasara Paperware
Symren Natural Skincare uses Biodegradable Packaging
Sugar Cane Waste to Replace Coal in Coal-Fired Power Plants?

Tags: Chairs | Concepts & Prototypes | Designers | Recycled Building Materials | Taiwan | Waste

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