Palm Leather Resort Sandals

Tjeerd Veenhoven

Palm trees grow everywhere around the globe. It is a great natural resource and is used in every conceivable way, from building material to food. I came across the Areca Palm Leave plates last year and was, as many, amazed by its properties. Curious by nature I wanted to obtain the raw material to investigate it. I struck me that if there is a natural material of such big size (40 cm x 80 cm) and with such strong fibers more could be done with this besides plates. I found a supplier in India, Tamil Nadu.
After paying $10 for the leaves and $250 for transport the cardboard box filled with leaves finally arrived in my studio. I had already thought of great designs with the material but as often or always these didn’t work out as planned. After a while it occurred to me that the material was much more interesting wet than dry. When it is dry it is ridged and brittle, when wet flexible and with high tensile strength. After 8 months of experimenting I started to design a solution of bio-organic compounds, a solution to soften the leaves permanently. Now I have a new material, engineered from almost nothing but plant waste, with relatively simple steps of upgrading. A material that has some of the same properties as leather and rubber. One of our most successful products is the Resort Sandal, a cheap fully biodegradable throw away sandal to replace the plastic throw away sandal.

© Studio Tjeerd Veenhoven

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