Malai – (noun) a newly developed biocomposite material made from entirely organic and sustainable bacterial cellulose, grown on agricultural waste sourced from the coconut industry in Southern India. We work with the local farmers and processing units, collecting their waste coconut water (which would otherwise be dumped, causing damage to the soil) and re-purposing it to feed the bacteria’s cellulose production. One small coconut-processing unit can collect 4000 litres of water per day, which we can use to grow 25kg of cellulose.
Malai is a flexible, durable biocomposite material comparable to leather or paper. It is water resistant and because it contains absolutely no artificial ‘nasties’ it will not cause any allergies, intolerances or illness. It is a completely vegan product and as such you could even eat it!*
*but it’s way too pretty for that…
The word ‘Malai’ refers directly to the creamy flesh of the coconut and it is the coconut water (a by-product from the harvesting of this flesh) that sustains the bacteria whilst they are producing the cellulose, which is then in turn collected and refined until it becomes the finished material: Malai.
We can produce it in sheets (with a range of thicknesses) and we have also developed a process whereby we can create seamless three-dimensional objects using a moulding technique. Malai is available in a range of colours achieved through the use of mordant-free natural dyes, and it can develop a soft sheen or patina over time.