Architect Jun Aizaki grew a fruit into a mould with the form of a cup and it worked. This is a bioplastics milestone.
The biodegradable coffee cup was made with a gourd and a 3D-printed mould. A gourd is a plant of the family Cucurbitaceae. The term refers to a number of species and subspecies, many with hard shells, and some without.
Architect Jun Aizaki, founder of Brooklyn-based design firm CRÈME was looking for a sustainable solution to replace single use plastic cups. He tested with rice paper but settled with gourds.
“I kept thinking about biodegradable materials. Gourds have been used as vessels in Asia and South America for centuries. “Each piece is different, almost like a collector’s item.”
The method is still being refined; currently, only about half of each harvest can produce viable containers because many gourds either rot during the drying process or won’t grow properly in the moulds.