Milan Furniture Fair Day 4: Gorgeous Lamps Made of...Cow Dung?!


Photo via Konstfack University College of Arts Crafts and Design.

Organic design goes to a whole new level with this conversation starter: A lamp made of cow dung. Yep, you heard right: This lamp is actually made of what comes out of the back end of a cow (biodegradable, naturally), discovered during my final day at Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan. Designed by Karin Frankenstein and Tomas Auran, the Cow Dung lamp is sculpted out of a mixture of clay, sand, and cow dung--or, peat manure if we want to be a tad more tasteful. The lamp is part of an exhibition by the Konstfack University College of Arts Crafts and Design, currently on view at the Rossana Orlandi gallery, which I discovered thanks to a tip by Sam Grawe, the editor-in-chief of Dwell magazine (which we hound for sustainable roll-outs like the February 2009 prefab issue).

Before you turn up your nose at the idea of cow dung in your living room (and this lamp is odor-free!), recall your roots: Chances are a relative or two lived in a house made of peat or used cow dung for fuel. According to the Konstfack Web site:

This mixture is an age-old technology, but when applied to ceramics it resolves complications associated with the craft, especially in regard to drying processes, firing and size restrictions. Despite its brittle expression, the Cow Dung Lamp is extremely light and durable.


The Mr. Celsius candle by Christian Malmdin. Photo via Konstfack University College of Arts Crafts and Design.

Of course, the entire lamp is not biodegradable, but using a waste material widely available at farms across the world gets big bonus points from us.

The exhibition line-up also included the ingeniously symbolic Mr. Celsius candle holder by Christian Malmdin. The faceless Eskimo swallowing a slowly melting candle represents the "immediate loss of life caused by global warming," says the designer.

More on the 2009 Milan Furniture Fair, Salone Internazionale del Mobile
Milan Furniture Fair Day 1: Veuve Cliquot Champagne Box Sofa and More
Milan Furniture Fair Day 2: Glowing Inflatable Furniture Made of Recycled Materials
Milan Furniture Fair Day 3: Are Your Bed's Metal Parts Dangerous to Your Health?
10 of the Best Green Designs Launching at Milan's Mega Furniture Fair (slideshow)
More on Peat and Cow Manure
Biogas from Cow Dung in Luxembourg
Mooving Right Along Now — Cow Dung Fuel
For Peat's Sake, a Renewable Replacement
Get Your Heat From Peat
A Dung Deal: Making Power from Poop

Tags: Architecture | Designers | Furniture | Italy | Lighting | Recycled Building Materials | Reusability

Best of TreeHugger