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Natural Fibres Labs

“The natural environment sustains the life of all beings universally.’” - Dalai Lama



Exploring potential of new natural materials in our ‘back yards’


Lead:

Janak Mistry, Design Principal

Untapped resources are closer to us than we think. They are often in our own ‘backyards’.
Natural fiber based raw material can provide an exciting alternative for the vibrant crafts industry as well as mainstream industry looking for alternative solutions for packaging and other such applications.


Mandate

Our intent is to "eliminate negative environmental impact through skilful, sensitive design" by combining the right materials, craft techniques, and industrial processes. Sustainable Design complies with social, economic and ecological viability while designing products, built environment, systems and services. The intent is to "minimize or completely eliminate negative environmental impact through skilful and sensitive design". Research proves that sustainability in product design not only yields anticipated environmental improvements, but drives greater innovation, quality improvement, energy savings, and revenue growth as well.


Achievements and on-going focus areas

Our work is driven by three primary aspects of any innovation process:

Explore: untapped resources in our ‘backyard’It is often hard to see the untapped potential of natural resources closest to us. Looking at everything with ‘new’ eyes we are sure to find materials, craft and practices that have taken for granted. These new raw materials will become the palette and inspiration for new product development. By Experimenting with these materials and delaying design you run into new observations and discoveries. The key lies in experimenting in a playful way without pre-set parameters. This is followed by Envisioning new designs and applications with the newly developed material. Working in collaboration with craftsmen, Industry or independently and develop prototypes that can be used for product validation.


Some of the achievements and outcomes of this process are



Areca Palm Sheath Rope / Natural Fiber Back pack



Water Hayacinth tea bag / Banana Leaf eyes, ears and mouth masks



Corn Sheath and Husk Screen / Vegetable waste: Pea Pod Tooth Picks


Opportunities

In times of excessive consumption there is a surge in research and development in industry to find new alternatives to plastics and other non-biodegradable materials. This trend and related opportunities will only increase as the focus is gradually shifting to locally available plant based raw materials and bio-processes as alternatives for packaging, textiles, leather and many other applications. Large companies such as H&M and IKEA are already making big strides in developing alternative natural fibre materials in clothing, packaging as well as other household products. Bangalore based German company, Bio-lutions is another innovator of ecologically sustainable plant fiber products such as table ware, food packaging and medical equipment.


Enquiries

For more information about this program, kindly email Janak Mistry at janak@srishtimanipalinstitute.in