Everything we truly need in this world is provided by nature.
Although we have access to ubiquitous and inexpensive materials like plastic, the exploration of art often goes back to the basics. In the case of nea studio, a sustainability-focused architecture and interior design studio based out of New York, the material they use is algae and their most recent product is light covers for sconces and chandeliers.
The philosophy of founder Nina Edwards Anker and her team is to create beauty in an eco-responsible way. The newest ingredient in the lineup is Chlorophyta, also known as marine algae. While experimentation with green algae is nothing new, nea studio chose to keep it closest to its natural state. They avoided weaving, dying, gold-plating or embroidering it. Therefore, the shades feature bespoke design through a process of drying and molding the sea plants.
Edwards Anker comments, “In an increasingly high-tech global world, I’m inspired by local organic materials with known origins, which are familiar and connect to the natural world. The idea of the lamps originated from a Ph.D. research project about materials and light. I had been searching for biomaterials that were translucent and locally sourced to filter and soften the light of LED bulbs.”
The designers also found the natural material to be “versatile and customizable” as light covers. The translucent quality of the Chlorophyta allows light to filter through while offering an aesthetic appeal. In balance with nature, the algae is renewable and the studio sources it locally from a seafood shop in Brooklyn.
“Now that the algae is so easily accessible, we continue to try out new material combinations and configurations,” says Edwards Anker.
The colors vary on each shade, creating a natural and handmade appeal. The backdrop for the chandelier is made from brass or bronze; the units feature energy-efficient LED bulbs. The fixtures are also customizable, holding up to 100 lights.