From biofuels to fish-free health supplements and interactive, energy-generating "cyber-gardens," there are a lot of potential green uses for algae. On the design side, we've previously seen London-based designer Julia Lohmann's prototypical lamps made out of sheep's stomachs, and now she has turned to kelp -- a fast-growing, large kind of algae best known in Asian cuisines -- for creating lighting made out of abundantly-available and natural materials.
Seaweed is an amazing material. We consume it almost every day – there are extracts of seaweed in toothpaste. But we hardly ever see the material itself, and I think there is a value in it that has not been fulfilled yet.
But lighting wasn't the only goal; the project was done in collaboration with fellow designers Gero Grundmann, and local milliner Moya Hoke, and furriers Herbert and Christiane Weinberger in order to create hats and other structural works to demonstrate the possibilities of kelp in areas like replacing leather, veneering and marquetry as well. We wonder how these kelp lamps will be kept from from biodegrading, but nevertheless, it's a fascinating exploration of materials; more over at Dezeen (audio interview available) Julia Lohmann's website.