Sustainable development

Ecological material mimics nature

The development of ecological materials is also becoming increasingly important in the field of material innovations. The Swedish manufacturer Baux has succeeded in organically imitating nature's properties for the new Pulp acoustic panels.

Apr 20 2021

Pulp - biodegradable acoustic panels

Baux wants to develop sustainable, functional and beautiful building materials. For their latest product, they have teamed up with scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). The result is Pulp, a wood-based material based on over 25 years of research.  

The series of nine, 100 per cent bio-based and biodegradable acoustic panels, pushes the boundaries of sustainable building materials to a new level. "In the face of climate change, pollution and excessive consumerism, we as an industry can no longer afford to ignore the role we play," says Fredrik Franzon, CEO of Baux. "It is not enough to design and prototype for the future. We need to create a sustainable future today. Our new acoustic pulp is the result of our deep commitment to this vision." 

The development of Pulp was driven in collaboration with design studio Form Us With Love and a high-tech life science lab that uses biomimicry to organically modify cellulose fibres from sustainably harvested Swedish pine and spruce trees. 

The first step is to break down the wood into a liquid cellulose form before this pulp is dried in a process similar to paper making. The wood fibres are then modified to mimic the natural protective properties of various plants, such as the fire-retardant properties of grass roots, the water-repellent properties of lotus flowers or the strength of the catalytic combination of potatoes, plant wax and citrus fruits.

Nature's properties organically imitated: Pulp combines the fire-retardant properties of grass roots, the water-repellent properties of lotus flowers and the strength that comes from the catalytic combination of potatoes, vegetable wax and citrus fruits. © Baux

The design of the acoustic panels is inspired by origami folding techniques, and is intended to help create the ideal acoustic environment. The surface of the panel is nano-perforated using advanced laser technology, which allows sound waves to penetrate and be captured in the honeycomb chambers on the back. This technology has previously only been used in aircraft and spaceships, and the result is that the amount of material used can be reduced to a minimum. 

Instead of paint, Baux's Pulp acoustic panel is coloured with non-GMO wheat bran. "Adding paint would have compromised our vision of creating a 100 per cent bio-based product," explains John Löfgren, Creative Director at Form Us With Love. "By using different proportions of wheat bran, Pulp comes to life with character and colour, all without chemicals." 

With Pulp, Baux has succeeded in creating a material innovation. In a conversation with Fredrik Franzon, CEO of Baux, we learned more about the development process of Pulp and asked why circular furniture design is so firmly rooted in Scandinavia.

Pulp, the new acoustic panel from Baux, combines sound absorption, safety and durability with modern aesthetics and sustainability. © Baux

Circular furniture design is a trend that is becoming more and more prevalent. If you look at the Scandinavian furniture industry, you quickly notice that sustainability, resource efficiency and regional production are firmly rooted in the design and development process at some companies. What do you think - what's the reason for that?  

I think Scandinavian companies truly understand the importance of creating products through the usage of our local resources (Sweden is covered by 70 percent forest land!). Both adults and children in Scandinavia spend a lot of time outdoors and that’s why we cherish our nature and what it means to our lives. The nature is only a short commute away, wherever in Scandinavia you are! From a quiet walk on a forest trail or a swim in a tranquil lake. A perpetual invitation to put down our laptops, detach from the office and reawaken the depths of our inborn senses.  

Baux was founded on the belief that building materials should be sustainable, surprisingly functional, and remarkably beautiful. How did the claim come about? And how has it developed since the founding of Baux in 2014?  

Yes, our manifest really represents what we do and what we stand for. However, not many people know that the manifest actually changed in 2019. We have always been a sustainable brand, but we decided to add the word Sustainable to our manifest since this is in our DNA. With Pulp, Baux has most recently succeeded in a material innovation that is revolutionizing the market for 100 percent bio-based acoustic panels. 

How long did it take to develop Pulp? How many trials were necessary to be able to develop Pulp to market maturity in the end? 

As I mentioned earlier, the nature and sustainability has always been our priority! This is why Baux Acoustic Pulp was created from our love of nature and is the result of over 25 years of research and development. We had endless trials and errors before we finally launched the product in 2019. The beautiful Acoustic Pulp panel is the first ever acoustic panel to be both 100 percent organic and fully biodegradable. It’s designed, developed, and produced in Sweden, our proud Scandinavian heritage is clear. 

Fredrik Franzon brings 15+ years of experience from Operations & Strategic Sourcing, Start-Up initiatives and Entrepreneurship into Baux. He is Baux Co-founder Head of Product and therefore in charge of our innovative Product Development. Fredrik has a profound interest for sustainability and innovations and is always on the lookout for new exciting materials to form the future.

Author: Bernadette Trepte

Write the first comment