Biomaterial Lamp Design

Ostra is a ceramic-like biomaterial developed from discarded oyster shells. It addresses and modifies the current oyster operational system and supply chain, resulting in a circular economy. Working with waste oyster shells from local restaurants, the design disrupts oysters from reaching landfill sites through a beautiful and innovative lamp design, providing various social and environmental benefits. Ostra lamp is a suggestion/statement for what this material is capable of through sustainable product/ system design. 


Oyster shells are a great source of Calcium Carbonate (CaCO₃), an essential ingredient used in cement and concrete, an industry whose mining and production accounts for 8% of global emissions. While CaCO3 is extracted from a non-renewable resource such as limestone, waste oyster shells are thrown, unwashed near beaches and landfills, where they decompose, emit a bad odour, and pollute the environment.

In contrast to cement and concrete, where Calcium Carbonate is fired at high temperatures to produce Calcium Oxide, consuming large amounts of energy, and generating emissions, the end product of Ostra is a natural bio-composite that is both recyclable and biodegradable.

System Design

Material Disruption in Supply Chain of Oysters, Life Cycle Assessment, Material Flows, Environmental & Social Impact 

Ostra uses waste as a resource to combat the oyster shell waste stream. This alternative feedstock, which would otherwise be lost, could now be used to create functional ecosystems. It proposes a new concrete-like material derived from calcium carbonate and seaweed extract, both of which are renewable resources.
Using these valuable by-products of the fishing and food industries could encourage oyster and seaweed farming. This in return could supply even more material while also providing numerous social and ecological benefits such as massive seawater filtration, carbon dioxide capture, water acidity regulation, and biodiversity enrichment, all of which contribute to a thriving ecosystem.

Biomaterial Ceramic

The biomaterial was created by closely mimicking the formulation process of oyster shells in their natural environment through the use of a biological process known as "M.I.C.P." (Microbially Induced Calcium Carbonate Precipitation). Following extensive research and experimentation, a particular seaweed extract was developed that reacted extremely well with the residual oyster shell powder. This extract acts as a binder when mixed with the oyster shell powder, enabling it to be compressed and cured in the desired form.

At the product’s end of use, the material can be reclaimed by being grounded into powder and recycled into more products by re-mixing it with the binder.

After the form is created, the calcium carbonate in the lampshade continues to react with the biopolymer binder, collecting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and forming microcrystals in its structure, increasing its density and mechanical properties. Ostra can then be waterproofed by coating it with natural wax.