Adital Ela’s Terra stools and lamps are foot-stomped furniture that composts

earth, compost, natural materials, green design, Tel Aviv, Terra, furnitureInspired by an Indian tradition of serving chai tea in clay cups, Israel’s Adital Ela has designed Terra – an entire line of interiors made out of nothing but foot-stomped earth!

A TED fellow with a love of nature and Iraqi roots, Ela told Fastco Design that she was fascinated that once tea is drained in parts of India, the cups are then tossed on the ground and reclaimed by the earth.

Such a closed loop design cycle may seem new to readers of  William McDonough’s Cradle to Cradle, but Ela discovered that there is a long history in the Middle East of using organic materials not only to build homes but to make smaller products too. After considerable research, she gave ancient techniques a contemporary twist using materials sourced from the fields near her Tel Aviv studio.

earth, compost, natural materials, green design, Tel Aviv, Terra, furnitureWhile researching ancient earth design in the Middle East, Adital Ela was learned that her own grandmother from Iraq had built stoves made out of earth.

“I was amazed to discover that this knowledge was actually in my family one generation away,” she told Fastco.

The making of Terra stools:

“It reminded me again how crucial it is to find ways to lean back onto the heritage taught to us by our ancestors and take it forward by applying current scientific and technological knowledge, towards a future in which also our products have grandchildren.”

While she drew on techniques from Iraq and Palestine, most of Ela’s inspiration came from Persia, where earth construction has evolved over hundreds of years.

earth, compost, natural materials, green design, Tel Aviv, Terra, furnitureUsing a magical mixture of earth, straw, water and other organic natural materials, she then molds stools and lampshades that are incredibly sturdy. But once they’ve outlived their useful lifetime, they can be either reformed into something else, or thrown away without creating any undue environmental impact.

Not only are the materials breathable, healthy, and natural, but their manufacture into furniture requires absolutely zero energy – making Terra the ultimate solution for the growing, international problem of excess waste and material shortages.

Ela is a sustainability design lecturer at Holon Institute of Technology who leads workshops and lectures at conferences around the world.

You can check out more of her work at S-Sense Design.

::Adital Ela

About Tafline Laylin

As a tour leader who led “eco-friendly” camping trips throughout North America, Tafline soon realized that she was instead leaving behind a trail of gas fumes, plastic bottles and Pringles. In fact, wherever she traveled – whether it was Viet Nam or South Africa or England – it became clear how inefficiently the mandate to re-think our consumer culture is reaching the general public. Born in Iran, raised in South Africa and the United States, she currently splits her time between Africa and the Middle East. Tafline can be reached at tafline (at) greenprophet (dot) com, @teakettle22, http://www.facebook.com/tafline.laylin

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