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Using a patented process that utilizes a special binder and the correct amount of heat and pressure, Raul Lauri has created “decafé”, a new material made from coffee grounds. The resulting products are lampshades that are not only functional, but preserve the color and texture of the coffee. From Raul’s site (translated):

Raul Lauri reflects on everyday debris of everyday life and seek new forms of exploitation. In this case, chose coffee as a product near known and consumed worldwide, given that the latter is traded commodity in the world. In addition, coffee is a carrier of experiences happening every day — thousands of stories over a cup of coffee, then why get rid of a product as valuable if we can harness their emotional bonds?

[via Recyclart]

Michael Colombo

In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens’ educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.



  1. miroslava von schlochbaum says:

    This is a interesting project, and thank you for posting it; yet, does it ever strike one as just a wee-bit odd to post such a thing with a significant “Using a patented process” disclaimer on it given this is a Maker’s website? …sorta …kinda invites us all to consider how we might become interested in becoming patent infringers, doesn’t it? “not a bit! it’s just a posting of exciting new things that folks are inventing as business ventures so as an encouragement for others” …yeah, ok… hm. but i’ll be mixing my ample coffee grounds with some resorcinol and pressing it into a mold nonetheless. thankee.

    1. Datroll says:

      Ah men to that, go open source

    2. mpechner says:

      I have the same problem with this. Although, some people patent just to keep control, not to make money from people or prevent others from doing it. More to keep the trolls from patenting it first.

      Lets hope this is the case.

    3. CG says:

      The good thing about a patent is at least (in theory) you should be able to go find the patent, learn how it was done, creatively engineer around the claims, and go on about your business, which can’t be said for trade secrets. While technically using the art described in the patent for personal use is infringement, (if you are in a location under the jurisdiction of the particular patent authority) you probably won’t have someone knocking down your door because they saw your fancy new table lamp through your front window. If you post about somewhere, say, on a DIY website, you may draw attention however. A quick search of the USPTO and EPO didn’t find anything for Raul Lauri yet.

  2. trkemp says:

    One of the questions I have when I see a “new” material, like wood putty made from coffee grounds, is: what is the long term stability and safety of it? Will it retain it’s color? Will it disintegrate? I know that as a child I often built things out of unconventional materials. When I went through boxes of my old stuff from my parent’s I discovered that many of my early creations looked awful or were falling apart.

    Just because this is “patented” doesn’t mean that any long term testing has been done on it. Will it out-gas something when the light bulb warms it up. Will sitting in the sun make bits flake off and fall into your Cheerios.

    Using traditional materials and finishes may seem less wonderful in some way, but you know what the end results will be.

    1. That’s definitely true. I would hope he runs tons of experiments to see how it holds up before selling them. It’s a really novel idea, but I wouldn’t appreciate buying something that only lasts a year or two–it would be wasteful.

  3. Poet says:

    It looks to me the patented process is called a heated pressure vac mold. Suck the moisture out and you have hard material left. could also be simple dehydration for the same relative effect.

  4. Poet says:

    Looks like they may have borrowed from the folks who make the logs out of coffee grounds.

  5. Tim_C says:

    Definitely going to try and replicate this. I was thinking garden pots/citronella candles. I reckon if you mixed it with bentonite clay and compressed hard enough you would get some fairly long lasting pots. Or a natural resin. To stick to the green theme you would have to use an organic based binder.

  6. [...] the article Lampshades from Coffee Grounds, user trkemp writes: One of the questions I have when I see a “new” material, like wood putty [...]

  7. Wonder if it lets out a nice aroma when it gets hot the first few times….haha.

  8. N Jaya Chitra says:

    good job, what about the impact strength.

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