When it comes to designing a new product, sometimes it’s not about creating something entirely new but about finding ways to make an existing product more sustainable. In the case of Nuclée lamps, the “light bulb idea” evolved from traditional methods of using banana fiber.

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round lamp with banana fiber center

After having the chance to meet and learn from the Kavalan Indigenous tribe, designer Dorian Etienne, in collaboration with designer Cordélia Faure, decided to rely on the ancestral techniques to create banana light coverings. The French designers came up with the concept and produced it during a six-month residency at the National Taiwan Craft Research Institute (N.T.C.R.I.) in Taiwan. The final process honors the way the tribe members, located near Hualien on the east coast of Taiwan, have relied on the fiber to make their traditional clothing, bags and containers for generations.

Related: Bananatex launches a sustainable material revolution at Milan Design Week

person weaving banana fibers
person arranging round lamps made from banana fibers

Typically, banana flesh creates large amounts of waste, but with a specific refining technique, the potential waste is instead turned into a stable plant tissue. The resulting fiber ranges in color from white to dark brown, and the variations create eye-catching patterns in the light. Each fiber brings its own unique look, so no two lights are exactly the same. The Nuclée lights are highlighted by a simple, curved bamboo frame that keeps the emphasis on the banana fibers. It’s bananas! Adding to the locally sourced, natural fibers of bamboo and banana fiber, Nuclée also incorporates black granite.

close-up of round brown lamp
round lamp made of bamboo and banana fibers

The design has earned a Green Product Award Laureate (Berlin, 2021) and “Best of Year” Grand Prize (New York, 2020). The team is also excited to offer a special version of the Nuclée, explaining, “We are also in the process of producing a very limited, numbered and signed series of this luminaire. It should come out at the end of the month (May 2021)!”

+ Dorian ETIENNE Design

Images via Dorian ETIENNE Design