Tessa Silva-Dawson

Product designer Tessa Silva-Dawson turns milk into an eco-friendly bioplastic to create functional products for her project Protein.

Anchored by: Alifiya Mehamadabadwala
Photographs: Courtesy the designer

After studying product design at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California-based product designer Melanie Abrantes opened her own studio in 2013 to tap into the growing American market for handmade goods. During her course the designer experimented with everything from glass to ceramic to wood, but eventually turned to cork, a major export from her home country of Portugal that is naturally eco-friendly and malleable. Cork is harvested on a sustainable basis where the stripping of the bark does not harm the tree in any way. Melanie’s commitment to sustainably farmed materials coupled with her genuine curiosity led to the creation of products of the highest quality that are equally beautiful and functional. Through the technique of lathing, she turned simple pieces of solid wood and cork into one-of-a-kind bowls, plates, cups planters and stands available under the Pink Marble Cork Collection, Charcoal Cork Collection, and Hanging Planters. The hand-turned cork planters are designed for desert plants such as succulents and cacti. Each planter has a shellacked interior and is finished on the outside with a natural beeswax. Natural cork bowls on the other hand have a hand-sanded interior and are also finished with a natural beeswax.