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Lighting development and short term and completely decomposable products and secondary packaging (ideal for outdoor traveling/camping) using product designer Tjeerd Veenhoven’s natural fiber softening Solution as part of his Palm Leather Project. R&D development using the pods from the Subabul (Leucaena Leucocephala) tree, a fast-growing evergreen tree local to parts of South Asia and Central America, and considered an invasive weed for its prolific seed production.


Client: Palm Leather Project

Role: designer, material researcher

Timeline: October 2016

August - November 2013

#fibres #pods #sustainable

#productdevelopment #ecofriendly 



Scientific Name: Leucaena leucocephala

Common Names: River tamarind, Subabul

Availability: Subabul is best suited for warm regions and grows well between 22 and 30ºC. Because of its strong and deep root system, the tree is highly drought-resistant and fast-growing. It is restricted to elevations below 500 m but withstands variations in rainfall, sunlight, windstorm, slight frost, and drought. In India, the Subabul tree grows in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. They bloom during April-August but generally flower almost throughout the year.

Properties when dry -

Paper-like touch, brittle, flexible to an extent, surface tears easily when stitched


After 72-96 Hours of dipping in the solution

Strength - Doesn’t tear easily

More translucent


Flattens out further

Tensile strength - pretty high

A slight change in color

The surface can be stitched

Once the pods are softened, they remain in that state, however, with constant use, they tend to wear and tear away hence the products can be designed for short term use packaging or as a replacement for single-use plastic

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Pod Lamps

Subabul pods, cotton, metal frame

Toiletries case with eco-friendly products

Subabul pods, Areca nut sheath, and leaf, neem, cotton



Disposable packaging for tissues and tea bags; carry bag: a substitute for plastic and paper carry bags (intended for light-weight objects)

Subabul pods, cotton



Table mats, napkin holders, coasters

Subabul pods, cotton

Anchor 2

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