The world's first date-seed-based biocomposite material.
Small seeds, big change.
University Project Turned Startup
Team: Heba Naji & Nikhilesh Mohan
Miikka J. Lehtonen
Started in 2019
What is DATEFORM?
DATEFORM is a UAE-based material innovation startup producing solid surface materials from date seeds, a by-product of the sizable date farming industry. Every year, over 108,000 tons of date seeds are discarded in the UAE. After conducting hundreds of tests over a span of two years, DATEFORM has been able to produce their solid surface bio-composite material in five different finishes: ‘Crater Dust’, ‘Mars Red’, ‘It’s Roasted - Raw’, ‘It’s Roasted - Gloss’ and ‘Yes It’s Date Seeds’. Each one of these finishes showcases a different granular state (crushed, roasted, or whole), texture, and colour.
How can it be used?
DATEFORM’s solid surface materials can be used to create countertops, flooring/tiling systems, wall cladding, shelving units, furniture, and more.
DATEFORM’s materials are not limited to solid surfaces, the material is capable of being molded in a variety of complex forms to suit bespoke design needs.
Made in the Emirates, DATEFORM turns waste into value by diverting date seeds from landfills and instead enriching our spaces with fascinating materials.
What inspired Dateform?
This project first came to life during a studio course in my second year at university. The course challenged us to tackle one of the UN's sustainable development goals, with the UAE as our context. We decided to tackle the 12th sustainable development goal: Responsible Consumption & Production. This journey lead us to an extensive research phase where we looked into our relationship with natural resources within the UAE. After several weeks we found that date seeds were being discarded at alarming rates and took it upon ourselves to do something about it.
I hope that Dateform will encourage other designers and material innovators to rethink how natural resources and locally-produced waste by-products can be repurposed to help move the world towards a circular economy and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption & Production.
Project Motivations + Goals
Through this exploration, we found that most of the water we drain out is not necessarily unclean or untreatable. This made it clear to us that we’ve been treating water as a disposable resource, with little value. We were keen on changing the perception of water from an unlimited, disposable resource with little value to one that is precious, respected, and thoughtfully used. By doing so we change the consumption of water from a single-use resource to a reusable and recyclable resource. This gave rise to a few questions: What if we valued water and could repurpose it domestically? How would this new relationship change the way we behave and act within our homes?