Seaweed and paper combine
to create furniture

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Terroir project by Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt

Designers Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt have used a new material made from seaweed and paper to create a chair and a collection of pendant lamps.

Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts graduates Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt harvest fucus seaweed – a type of algae – from the Danish coastline, before drying and grinding it into a powder.

Terroir project by Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt

It is then cooked into a glue, exploiting the viscous and adhesive effect of alginate – a natural polymer found in the brown algae.



Combining the seaweed glue with paper results in a tough and durable material similar to cork, which is then moulded into the products in the Terroir Project collection.

Terroir project by Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt

"The first thing people do is to smell the object," Edvard told Dezeen. "They just stick their nose into the material, like having a breath of fresh air."

"After realising it is made from seaweed people are very excited that something considered useless and smelly can be used to create sustainable furniture."

Terroir project by Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt

The combination of the materials alone is enough to form a durable chair that can take the weight of a sitter.

"As most people don't know the actual strength of the alginate, they often think we put some extra glue inside, but it is only seaweed and paper," said Edvard.

Terroir project by Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt

The colour of the material is determined by the different species of seaweed – ranging from dark brown to light green.

Both the chair and lamp are made using fucus, a common brown algae found on rocky shorelines around the world. The chair has ash wood legs, and the lamps are available with a diameter of 18 or 25 centimetres.

Terroir project by Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt

"For the design of the Terroir lamps and the Terroir chair we wanted to create a fundamental shape and silhouette, which gave focus to the new material showing the surface and colour available," Edvard said.

"We wanted to express the moulding abilities that the material had, by making soft curved shapes allowing for maximum strength and minimum weight."

Terroir project by Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt

Seaweed contains high quantities of salt, which acts as a preservative and a natural flame-retardant.

The material can be broken down and reused, or recycled as natural fertiliser, as it contains large amounts of nitrogen, iodine, magnesium and calcium.

Terroir project by Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt

"Our interest in seaweed came from everyday encounters" said Edvard. "When walking along the beach or taking a swim in the summer, you quickly face the problem of seaweed. [But] when it dries up on the beach it becomes super hard and strong."

Designers are increasingly experimenting with seaweed and other forms of algae. Seaweed has recently been used as architectural cladding and lampshades while algae has been used as a base material to create a yarn for weaving rugs and a dye for colouring textiles. Algae has even been implemented as an energy source to power buildings.

Terroir project by Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt

"We wanted to use this abundant material in a way it hadn't been used before," Edvard explained.

The project follows research into local materials by the Danish design duo, both of whom have masters degrees in product and furniture design from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts' School of Design.

Photography is by Emil Thomsen-Schmidt.

  • Jon Sealey

    I love this! Well done to the students! Would love to see more perhaps in different formats of furniture. Nice. Marques and Jordy.

  • spadestick

    Wow… Really wonder what it feels like, whether it lasts and whether this is any good as an alternative to distressed leather.

  • gvanderleun

    Strikingly ugly and hamfisted. Just garbage halted en route to the dumpster by enviropreening. Get real.

  • Great idea but I wonder about the practicalities of the commercial solution in terms of pricing and when compared to other products made from bamboo, which I suspect is cheaper to make.