Kirei Instead of Wood?

Among the ever-expanding sea of wood alternatives, Kirei -- the Japanese character signifying 'beautiful' or 'clean' -- makes some unique materials that can replace your typical (and potentially 'unsustainable') flooring and interior millwork options.
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The Kirei product that first caught my eye via Materialicious, Kirei tiles are produced from reclaimed coconut shells. Offered in a variety of weaves, textures, and color combinations, these tiles can be used horizontally or vertically, decoratively or as panelling. Their Sumatra Collection also looks vaguely like a delicious dessert.

Bamboo flooring and Kirei board, which is made from the discarded stalks of sorghum plants, define the ShowHouse.

Bamboo flooring and Kirei board, which is made from the discarded stalks of sorghum plants, define the ShowHouse.

Kirei Board

The company's original material, Kirei Board, is made from the stalks of the Sorghum plant, which is grown around the world for food. The post-harvest stalks are woven and heat-pressed with an adhesive -- good because these leftovers are usually burned or thrown into landfills, and can also provide farmers with additional revenue. However, since it is straw-based, it is not as hardy as conventional woods.

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Developed as an non-structural alternative to formaldehyde-emitting wood MDF, wheatboard is similarly constructed from discarded plant stalks, and comes in a variety of densities.

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Chocolate Bamboo

Ah, so this is why I was thinking of dessert. If you're looking for something a little less mainstream than the typical trendy bamboo look, this material's new dark color is borne from a 'proprietary' deep steaming process instead of just a surface stain. Kirei Bamboo uses Moso bamboo grass to make these ply panels.


Although some eyebrows will raise at the embodied carbon of these offshore materials, Kirei champions their fast growth cycles and rapidly renewable nature. Whether this outweighs shipping from Northern China we haven't yet been able to calculate, but these wood alternatives are no doubt unusual and worth consideration.

Tiffany Chu
Besides writing and designing, Tiffany Chu's passions include photography, cartography, and all things Scandinavian.


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