Lava is one of those things that you hope to admire from afar -- from really, really far (unless you're one of those extreme hiking types). Raimonds Cirulis of Maffam Freeform, a Latvian design company, however obviously thinks otherwise in this intriguing collection of furniture that is created from spun fibers of volcanic rock and natural resin.
Basalt is a grey to black-coloured volcanic rock that is the product of rapidly cooled lava and is quite common. Using a specially-designed machine and adapting previously-used techniques, Cirulis produces a fibrous yarn out of the molten rock:
Basalt fibre yarn is obtained from molten basalt rock by stretching it through the platinum/rhodium alloy spinner. [..] Basalt fibre is three times the strength of steel and is close to the physical and mechanical properties of carbon fibre. This means – all that is made of this fibre is extremely durable. Basalt is still used by the military industry and for space exploration purposes. Studies shows that the basalt fibres have good physical and chemical properties, as well as good ability to bind with metals, epoxy and adhesives.
His furniture is made from this basalt yarn, hardened with resin. True to its name, the result is a kind of furniture that is spun and woven into voluptuous and freeform, fanciful shapes, sturdy enough for outdoor use -- almost as if some big black spider came along and constructed it.
The patented technology hasn't been translated into mass production, and according to the designer, it is an eco-friendly material:
A way how to produce this kind of fibre industrially is not yet found, so they will always remain unique, handmade and in few copies. The furniture is eco-friendly because fibre absorbs negative environmental electromagnetic radiation and nature has inexhaustible sources of this material.
We're not totally sure about it absorbing electromagnetic radiation (another website says it's "resistant"), but certainly this material would be fire resistant, and therefore durable, and it's definitely an interesting use of materials. More over at Maffam Freeform; hat tip to Design Milk.