Thomas Vailly, founder of Eindhoven’s Studio Thomas Vailly, partnered with the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Ingénieurs en Arts Chimiques Et Technologiques to develop the materials.
“The rules were simple, we can only use sunflower by-products, no added ingredients,” Vailly tells Dezeen. “We work by focusing on one plant at a time—being so specific and constrained allows for exciting findings.”
Sunflowers are often grown to produce oil, seeds, and biofuel, although the crop generates considerable amounts of agricultural waste. Vailly found that the “press cake,” the material left after oil is extracted from sunflower seeds, can be used to make vegan leather and glue. STV has used that glue combined with bark fibers collected post-harvest to produce a polystyrene replacement.
“Entering the realm of bioplastics, a vast number of applications of what was previously considered waste becomes possible: from a tiny bolt to a large insulation panel, from a bio-board to an smartphone case,” Vailly adds.