Using maize bio-plastic and bamboo trim, with the ‘Safe’ range elium studio is extending its research into offbeat materials applied to household products. Following on from electrical appliances for Rowenta (of which the ‘Ceramic Art’ hotwater jug set to come out next spring), working for Lexon the designers have looked at small electronics for the home in chic eco-friendly mode: radio with rechargeable battery by manual wind-up, clock, alarm clock, calculator and pocket flashlight with solar-powered battery. In other words a range of eco-design pieces geared to renewable energies.

As for the finish qualities of maize bio-plastic, which is matt rather than the supernatural shininess of ordinary plastic, they are honed and counter-balanced by the addition of bamboo in covering trims. This is a technically bold option that adds an artisan touch to mass production and gets around the problem of appearance-fade, since bamboo takes on an elegant patina with use where ordinary plastics age badly.

The ‘Safe’ range is on display at Maison&Objet from 22 to 26 January 2010 on the  Lexon stand, Hall 6, Stand J47