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Natural Fibres Labs

SMART & SLOW : Impact & Resilience by design.

On the canvas which is India, on one hand we are rapidly embracing technology and leap frogging into the future to be in sync with the global platform of development and on the other hand we don’t have to look far to see that we are surrounded by rich cultural and traditional heritage which has been influencing our current economies and lifestyles.

It would be very convenient and easy to exercise choices and give up one over the other, and in the process lose ones identity.

The challenge posed to aspiring designers and artists is to strike a conscious balance between both the extremities on the canvas.

How can one ensure that our future interventions have the impact and resilience to sustain ones individuality and identity amidst the ever changing global economic and ecological

Areca sheath rope

In the Natural fibers lab we believe, that more often than not, untapped resources are closer to us than we think. They are often in our own ‘backyards’.
Natural fibre based raw material can provide an exciting alternative for the vibrant crafts industry as well as mainstream industry looking for alternative solutions for packaging and other such applications.
An aspect to consider is the one of resources in general and with particular focus on Natural fibers from around the world and locally. The aim is to infuse radical thought on why products made of natural fibers are viewed and valued.



The aim of this lab is to infuse radical thought on why products made of natural fibers are viewed and valued. Our intent is to "eliminate negative environmental impact through skilful, sensitive design" by combining the right materials, craft techniques, and industrial processes. Sustainable Design complies with social, economic and ecological viability while designing products, built environment, systems and services. The intent is to "minimize or completely eliminate negative environmental impact through skilful and sensitive design".
Research proves that sustainability in product design not only yields anticipated environmental improvements, but drives greater innovation, quality improvement, energy savings, and revenue growth as well.
The demand for sustainable products continues to grow and it is becoming increasingly clear that being sustainable can drive new growth that capitalizes on a rising demand for environmentally friendly and energy-efficient products. Consumers today want to know how the products are made, what they are made from, how far they travel, how they are packaged and how empathetic can they be towards the environment.



Investigating how one can develop hi-tech products that are considered to be low-tech. The aim is the highlight the potential and strength of natural fibers when the right materials, craft techniques, and industrial processes are combined together.
The Natural Fibres Lab works with both industry as well as the crafts sector to develop new natural fibre based materials for end users and industrial applications.


Student Engagement:

We work with students to help them understand the process of innovation to develop new raw materials with locally available plant based natural fibres.
Our work is driven by three primary aspects of any innovation process:

  • Explore:untapped resources in our ‘backyard’:It is often hard to see the untapped potential of resources closest to you. A way to get cured from this is to do a ‘square mile tour’. Go out and look at everything with ‘new’ eyes and you are sure to find materials, craft and practices that you have taken for granted. Map the value chain: where does it come from, how much of it is there and what does it turn into. These will become your palette and inspiration for your project.
  • Experiment: In this process you run into observations and discoveries. Wait with appointing functions, limitations and most important of all postpone design urges. Experiment in a playful way without pre-set parameters.
  • Evolve: Envision your design by exploring possible applications for the newly developed material. Work in collaboration with craftsmen, Industry or independently and develop prototypes that can be used for product validation.



  • Janak Mistry - Design Principal
  • Studio Tjeerd Veenhoven



Areca eye ware and masks


Areca eye ware and masks



Natural fibre backpacks



Hand bag: an elegant combination of areca sheath and canvas.



Areca packaging for soaps and cosmetics.



Areca sheath light footwear



Water hyacinth tea bags.



Areca sheath toys.



Recycled areca plate rope and weave.