I have to confess that I don’t associate Monaco with ecological materials but a fascinating new product from the principality caught my eye at Surface Design.
Beleaf is made from banana stalks to produce veneers. The trunk of the banana plant is cut down after every crop and is normally left to rot. This process is repeated every six to nine months which is an awful lot of plant matter. Beleaf is a material produced from the trunks which, as Mario Cassin showed me on the stand, can be used as flooring, tiles and veneer.
It reminds me of Jean-Michel Frank’s straw veneers, using an everyday material to produce something rather lovely. It just needs designers now to play with it and see what they can do.