Cow intestine lamps marry grossness with function


In Denmark, designer Kathrine Barbro Bendixen is converting waste cow intestines into surprisingly beautiful lighting installations. Once cleaned and reinflated, Bendixen, founder of Studio KBB, uses the intestines to create translucent tubes. 

Bendixen tells she first began experimenting with animal intestines while a student at 

Design Academy Eindhoven. “I was immediately fascinated,” she says. “It is a very surprising material, both aesthetically and functionally. When wet the intestine is very soft, indefinable and unmanageable. As soon as the water runs through you can see the proportions, elasticity and the purity of the intestines,” she continued. “When the intestines are blown up, they move, breathe, change with temperature, humidity and light, so they are incredibly difficult to figure out, but that is also their beauty.”

Her lamps also provide an outlet for an otherwise discarded, but potentially useful, material.  “The Inuit used the intestines of seals to make anoraks, because the outside of the material is waterproof, and the inside is breathable,” she added. “The material GoreTex is also inspired by intestines.”