by , 01/25/06


By now you may have heard of Kirei, the eco-friendly fiber board that comes from the discarded remains of sorghum stalks after harvesting. Generally used as a finishing material, Kirei functions in much the same way as wood, but it looks absolutely unlike any of its counterparts. Bonded with formaldehyde-free adhesive compounds, the raw-looking material actually has a smooth, even surface.

iannone:sanderson has become the token early adopter of Kirei, having incorporated it masterfully into their Mod Coffee Table, which made its first appearance last May at ICFF. Set against pure white acrylic, the kirei’s dramatic texture and organic irregularity strike a sharp contrast. This is just the kind of design that will give sustainable materials street cred: smashing good looks and eco-friendly ingredients – it’s like having your cake and eating it, too.

+ iannone:sanderson

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  1. Scott Bennett October 24, 2006 at 7:26 pm

    Just an update to the earlier comment: I’ve had a chance to look at more Kirei since I got that sample, and I haven’t seen the same softness that I did before. I don’t know if they’ve changed their process or if I just got a bad piece initially, but what I’ve seen more recently wouldn’t cause me any trepidation in using it.

  2. Scott Bennett February 7, 2006 at 9:11 pm

    I just got a little finished Kirei sample this morning from Materials Monthly, and I have to say, I would not use it, especially in exposed applications like this. I can put my thumbnail right right through the surface, about 1/8″ down into the material. You can peel strips of sorghum stalk off the edges with little effort. It might be acceptable used under veneer (as an MDF substitute), it looks like it would telegraph pretty badly. And there are more affordable, better performing eco-friendly MDF substitutes than this. Unfortunate, because I really wanted to like this material.

  3. travis January 31, 2006 at 6:15 am

    kirei is pronounced more like ‘key-RAY’, with the ‘r’pronounced somewhat like a spanish r, but with only one roll. I take it’s not a Japanese company, right? Looks interesting.

  4. Ro January 26, 2006 at 7:51 am

    I really like the contrast between the hygienic white versus the natural look of Kirei. I hope to see more use of this material in the future! (and possibly in different applications as this?)

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