Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, although most people would agree there is beauty in nature. Artist and textile designer Yi Hsuan Sung has taken that common view of natural beauty and used it to create a varied line of products for the home.

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Artist amidst her hanging floral lamps

In addition to reflecting nature in her designs, her mission is to honor it through the use of sustainable and natural materials. Sung believes that the desire to bring elements of nature inside the home often comes with a host of unwanted and unnecessary petrochemicals. 

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Hanging florals

To create a cleaner home environment, she began experimenting with agar, which is an extract from red algae. She then combined it with glycerin and water to make a material that is natural, biodegradable and renewable. Once she was able to solidify the process, she began, and continues, experimenting with different products made from the same medium. Her wall art and faux flowers have a variety of finishes, including shimmery, metallic and foamy. The bioplastic also takes a variety of shapes, from wavy to curvy, and can be formed into sheets, filaments or cast units. 

Hanging floral agar lamps from the ceiling

In the example of her floral pendant lamps made with agar, she makes the shade base by knitting agar yarn and decorating them with agar flowers cast from 3D-printed molds she designed. Her Agar Garden designs are an artistic endeavor into working with bio materials, while developing useful and pleasing interior design products. She’s also developed lamps and other products from silk and wool fabric samples, sequin scraps and lurex selvage yarns and mats made from a combination of agar, onion skins, spoiled milk and recycled saris.

(Left to right) A person holding a lamp, a lamp glowing in the dark

With an emphasis on protecting the environment in her material choices, Sung pays special attention to coloring through the use of fiber waste (wool), food waste and mica powder. 

Two lamps glowing in the dark

“As a textile maker who consciously integrates science and technology into art and design and a material creative who dedicates to healthy and sustainable solutions, I earnestly explore the relationship between digital, bio and recycling fabrication,” Sung said. “Through my work, I want to transform textile making into a system that is harm-free, slow and mindful.”

+ Yi Hsuan Sung 

Images via Yi Hsuan Sung