In a self-directed project during his studies at Central Saint Martins, Fernando Laposse conducted extensive research on the qualities of loofah, trying to control it to the point that it can be incorporated into functional objects. Loofah is of course usually associated with scrubbing and bathing, however, Laposse wanted to try and change our association with the material beyond the bathroom, introducing it to other applications, so that it could be useful throughout the rest of the house. Loofah is actually an edible fruit that grows from a vine, and is related to pumpkins and cucumbers. The plant uses little nutrients from the soil and leaves no roots, which makes it a very sustainable option in comparison to wood and cork. For the project, Laposse worked closely with a local carpenter in Mexico City where he developed all manner of ohusehold objects: A room divider, lamp, coffee table, hot chocolate set and planters all utilize the plant sponge in their construction. Each of the individual designs exploits one or more of the natural material’s characteristics – heat insulation, lightness, shock absorption, texture, translucency etc. For the ‘lufa’ collection, the mexican designer has cut the medium in a variety of ways, in which he flattens, moulds or sews portions of the dried plant matter into desired forms, combining them with more industrial materials such as cement and wood as well as terracotta, manipulating the clay and fibrous matter by hand. The results are quite brilliant. (Source: designboom)