SHELL HOMAGE, a versatile compostable material

Shell Homage is a compostable material made from eggshells and different types of nutshells, established by Rania ElKalla, an Egyptian multidisciplinary designer and winner of international awards. Today, she is the founder and managing director of Shell Homage, a project that began in 2011 as a bachelor research project at the German university in Cairo and continued later as a master research project at the Technical University of Berlin, TU Berlin. Besides her company, she also works as a lecturer in industrial design department at the German International University – GIU in cooperation with the HTW Berlin, Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft. (Cover Vega Trays, Shell Homage, ph. courtesy)

Shell Homage takes its name from the resource used (Shell) and the Homage to the journey of this waste and its continuing life cycle. The material was created to replace petroleum-based plastics with a versatile compostable solution that can be used for a variety of applications (interior design, lighting, furniture, home accessories, 3D printing, fashion and jewellery design). It can be designed to resemble marble or natural stone, rubber or glass and the properties – both aesthetic and mechanical – can be controlled and modified depending on the application. The surface can be rough, smooth, opaque, translucent or transparent.

A very interesting aspect is that, from the start, the designer focused on the possibilities that industrial production could offer her: so she started testing the material until she came up with a solution that could be processed with various machines. She is currently trying to scale up the 3D printing process to market the products in the future. An example of the use of the material can be seen by looking at the projects already realized by the brand: with SAMSUNG x FRAME, Shell Homage was used as a mobile phone cover, on which an illustration was also printed; with Objects of Hope in 2022, the brand launched a summer collection of everyday objects, bowls, trays, table tops, furniture, coffee tables and accessories. The material has also already been used for applications in interior and public spaces: for example as a custom-made wall covering for Brown Nose, Egypt’s first sustainable bar, an interior design project by Design Avenue; as a backlit exterior portal of a shop, made specifically for the project; even as a ceiling light for lamps.

Rania ElKalla‘s goal is to create functional and sustainable products without the use of toxic chemicals, that have a long life span and are still compostable. Shell Homage aims to produce objects, lights and furniture that convey an indirect message to users about what we consider waste. Thanks to its own path and experience, the brand is able to offer affordable products with unique aesthetics that reuse waste as a resource and are fully customizable.

Shell Homage participated in the SaloneSatellite 2024 and at the Fuorisalone, Isola district, with the light installation Solar. The brand is part of the new and free Materials Design Map; to find out more visit the brand’s website and follow Shell Homage on Instagram! Photos courtesy of the designer

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