This lamp is made with a coconut and lime mixture to better diffuse the light. (Photo: Courtesy of Solar)

School projects are great motivators for students, as was the case with Solar, a line of lamps made by Industrial Design students at the Mexico City Campus of Tec de Monterrey.

Solar was awarded an honorable mention in the Best Design Student Project category at the Conscious Design Awards held in New York City.

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The final project of the seventh semester Product and Systems Design class was to create a lamp made with biomaterials.

Each student submitted their prototype lamp in which they had to incorporate solar cells and LED technology, but only the top six are part of Solar.

“Those subjects are very important because we have to create things. It’s when we make a product, object, or an experience real,” explains Fernando Sánchez Barrios, creator of the “Adobe” lamp, in an interview with Tec Review.

Fernando, now in the ninth semester, states that it is very important to experiment with materials that can be recycled.

In his clay project, he used the cap from a PET bottle to separate the body of the lamp from the part that contains the electrical elements, while the clay contains recycled paper waste from napkins and receipts.

For his part, Oscar Méndez Hernández says that the biggest challenge was time, since they had to choose and develop the material in just over a month. They had to try different ideas and consistencies to create a lamp that could be sustainable and have the lowest possible carbon footprint.

Within the Solar project, a collagen lamp was also created by pulverizing bone and tissue remains, which were then heated to create a resin material with a brown color.

Another one was made with the shell of a coconut, which was cut open and given a white finish made with lime to better diffuse and reflect light.

Viridiana Palma Dominguez, whose lamp is made with a maguey cuticle used to wrap mixiotes, tells Tec Review that a Brazilian architect is interested in the lamps and their materials for a sustainable project that he is working on.

“We want to perfect the materials because they’re still prototypes. The pandemic has presented us with a challenge to develop the material further send the samples. It’s already like a real-life point-of sale-exercise,” says Palma.

Finally, Fernando Sánchez says that the plan for the materials and lamps is to continue to experiment with the materials and to hold workshops in the future so that more people know how they can be used.

“It may be that Oscar’s bean mixture can be used to make more things like a plate or a cup. In my case, I think clay works for construction because it is resistant and natural and, unlike a brick, it doesn’t need to be baked. (…) It’s important to remember you can also create useful, good, and durable things with garbage,” explains Sánchez.

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