We are enchanted by Kelp Constructs, the new work from UK-based designer Julia Lohmann who has been experimenting with kelp, and exploring its potential as a sustainable material. Following an artistic residency at S-AIR in Sapporo Japan, Lohmann was in Milan this year conducting the Kelp Constructs workshop at the Nilufar Gallery. The final products, a collection of wonderfully tactile lighting designs, were on display during the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, bringing this rapidly renewable material into a new design realm.
Famed for it’s spectacular growth rate of up to a meter a day, kelp can be harvested sustainably. It’s dense underwater forests are recognized as one of the world’s most dynamic and productive ecosystems. For Constructs, Lohmann traveled to Ireland to meet with a diver from the Irish Seaweed Centre and returned with a suitcase packed full of kelp, and also sourced a supply from Sapporo, Japan.
In Milan, visitors were encouraged to touch the material at the workshop in it’s various stages of transformation – dried, re-hydrated, varnished and un-varnished – with the finished products varying dramatically. Lohmann will be repeating the Kelp Constructs workshop at the Grand Designs show next week, as part of Icon Experiment, allowing visitors to follow the whole design process of soaking and wrapping the kelp into shape.