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This artist creates biodegradable art from eggshells

This Thursday, March 18, World Recycling Day, is an opportunity to recall the importance of the circular economy but also to share new innovations related to sustainable development like the creations of the Egyptian artist Rania Elkalla, who puts her art to the benefit of the environment.

While eggshells may seem useless at first glance, they are actually an important resource for the circular economy. And Egyptian artist Rania Elkalla was quick to understand this. 

This 31 year old designer has been innovating in the field of interior design for a few years now by making decorative objects from organic waste. Her company Shell Hommage recycles eggshells as well as nut and cocoa shells into bioplastic material. The objective is simple: to progressively eliminate petroleum-based plastic, a polluting and toxic fuel for the planet and its residents.

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Avoiding waste

I got the idea by remembering my father who used to bring nuts” reports the designer. “Most nuts are made up of a shell, especially the coconut, and it makes up 67% of the fruit. It’s very hard and I was amazed to see that it looks like wood. Why doesn’t anyone use it? It’s a waste.”

If the process is simple, the result is amazing. The artist collects shells from restaurants or stores to sterilize, dry and grind them. The whole is then bound with organic and biodegradable substances, creating a texture similar to that of stone or ceramic and easily manipulated, pierced or sanded. 

The result is similar to marble or other natural stones, but lighter. It is versatile and can be used in interior design, in the fashion industry or in jewelry design

With this innovation, Rania Elkalla goes beyond the aesthetic character attributed to interior design, by giving it an ecological and sustainable dimension.

These creations are moreover a huge success and resonate far beyond the borders of Egypt since his project, entitled “Shell Homage, The Pebbles Hangers”, a set of storage of everyday objects, was awarded at the A’ Design competition in 2017. 

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Mishka, a leather and jewelry brand handmade by local women in historic Cairo

Published on 18 March 2021