Innovation Research and Design



Material Development and Design


Design of innovative material that recycles wasted palm bark from Southeast Asia.

Waste material palm bark

Material research in Singapore about the opportunities to recycle the waste into valuable materials.

Design of a fashionable version of a traditional sandal with a wooden sole.


Material experiments


Research: observations in Singapore led me to a deeper research about the palm tree and the materials made of it. The tree sheds a full-grown leaf about every three months and the connection between the trunk and the leaf forms the wooden and on the inside colourful bark.

Material experiments: I experimented with different parts of wasted leaves. Using different techniques and composites resulted in a beautiful range of new materials. I created a bioplastic with shredded parts and Kombucha fungus, used the colourful barks to dye linen, removed the coloured and thin layer, treated it to become softer and attached it to a Vliesofix fabrics. This new fabrics has a leather alike strength.

Colours and texture: the inside of each palm bark is related to its kind coloured in shades of dark orange, red, purple and brown. The texture consists of fine lines and is quite similar to cord fabric with a grand element of chance. I highlighted the texture by adding the wooden sole and ribbons with resembling patterns. The sole is made of the local wood

I used the colour scheme of the natural material and

Product culture: palm grows for example in South East Asia that shows great diversity in products and functionality. I was most impressed by the wooden sandals from Indonesia. They are beautifully crafted with artistic decorations and cut-outs. I related the product culture of the material palm leather to the experiences I made during the filed research in the region of Bandung, Indonesia (Project: Bamboo and pandan). A shoe maker showed me a range of expressive wood work and I based my design of the wooden sandal on his examples, adapted to current Western trends.

© All rights reserved, Hanne Viehmann 2021, Impressum