Wall-to-wall or cut and bound into area rugs, natural fibre carpets are rising in the ranks of decorators' fave floorcoverings. Eco-friendly plant-derived options, originally developed to produce rope and twine, have evolved into glamorous green alternatives to synthetic rugs and—although often pricier—are long wearing, versatile and modestly magnificent.
what is it? Fibres (manila hemp) stripped from the abaca plant, a relative of the banana tree.
where's it from? The Philippines
what's cool? Abaca is also a key component of specialty paper production, and is used to make paper currency, nautical rope, tea bags and coffee filters.
what is it? Fibres from the agave plant, a spiky member of the cactus family.
where's it from? East Africa, Brazil
what's cool? Each leaf on the spiky agave plant contains about 1,000 fibres. Multiply that by the 250 usable leaves in the average agave's lifespan, and you have a pretty productive little plant.
what is it? Tropical grass that's flooded with sea water for part of the growing season and then spun into yarn.
where's it from? Coastal regions of China, India
what's cool? The flooding of seagrass makes it smooth and stain resistant and can give it a greenish tinge. Don’t be put off by the haylike scent—it will dissipate over time!
what is it? Bast fibre from the stalks of industrial-grade Cannabis.
where's it from? Worldwide (except the U.S., where production remains illegal)
what's cool? The organic junkie's dream fibre, hemp doesn't require pesticides or herbicides, and is curiously unappealing to insects.
Image courtesy of Material Things.