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Sustainable materials: panels made out of dates seeds

a UAE-based company is making panels out of date seeds

Meet the company that’s making building materials (and a coffee brew) from the date seeds


DATEFORM is a revolutionary solid surface material derived from date seeds, a prevalent waste product in the UAE. It is actually the world’s first date-seed-based biocomposite material. Small seeds, big change.

Every year, over 108 million kilograms of date seeds are discarded in the UAE. Made in the Emirates, DATEFORM turns waste into value by diverting date seeds from landfills and instead enriching our spaces with fascinating materials.

Exploring the significance of dates in Emirati Culture

In the heart of the Arabian Peninsula, where the sun-kissed dunes meet the waters of the Gulf, lies the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – a nation steeped in rich history and cultural traditions. And at the core of this heritage lies a humble fruit that has nourished and sustained the Emirati people for centuries: the date

For the people of the UAE, the date palm is more than just a tree; it is a symbol of life, resilience, and prosperity. With its deep roots that tap into the precious groundwater and its towering canopy that provides shelter from the harsh desert sun, the date palm has been a steadfast companion to the Emirati people for generations.

In a land where the harsh desert climate made agriculture challenging, the date palm thrived, providing sustenance and shade to the people. The tree’s every part was utilized – the trunk for construction, the fronds for weaving, and the fruits for nourishment. This deep connection between the people and the date palm is reflected in Emirati folklore, poetry, and art, where the tree is often depicted as a symbol of generosity, hospitality, and abundance.

While the UAE has undergone rapid modernization in recent decades, the significance of dates in Emirati culture has not diminished. In fact, dates have found new ways to integrate into contemporary Emirati life, thanks to innovative products – such as Dateform.

Innovative products from dates

Fueled by tradition and love of dates, Dateform is a groundbreaking initiative transforming waste and natural resources into innovative and sustainable building materials. ARDH Collective, a forward-thinking company founded by a group of visionary young professionals behind Dateform, is set to redefine construction standards with a focus on sustainability and environmental stewardship. With the ambitious goal of becoming the most sustainable building solutions company in the region, ARDH Collective is making waves in the industry and creating a greener future for generations to come.

About Dateform

DATEFORM is a revolutionary solid surface material derived from date seeds, a prevalent waste product in the UAE. Known as “It’s Roasted,” this material boasts a unique combination of a 5mm top layer seamlessly bonded with 18mm Russian birch plywood, providing both durability and authenticity. DATEFORM not only utilizes locally sourced waste resources but also supports the local economy by purchasing date seeds from farms and factories, preventing them from ending up in landfills. The process involves roasting the seeds and transforming them into customizable sheets and products, showcasing sustainability at its core.

After conducting hundreds of tests over a span of two years, DATEFORM has been able to produce their solid surface bio-composite material in five different finishes: ‘Crater Dust’, ‘Mars Red’, ‘It’s Roasted – Raw’, ‘It’s Roasted – Gloss’ and ‘Yes It’s Date Seeds’. Each one of these finishes showcases a different granular state (crushed, roasted, or whole), texture, and colour.

credits: Dateforms

The design journey: odds and contraints

The design journey has not been without its challenges. The development of the materials involved hundreds of tests, numerous failed samples, and countless iterations. Scaling their operations to a manufacturing level required overcoming significant hurdles in acquiring and optimizing machinery. However, their persistence paid off, enabling them to bring their innovative solutions to the market.

How can it be used

DATEFORM’s solid surface materials can be used to create countertops, flooring/tiling systems, wall cladding, shelving units, furniture, products and more. 

Pushing boundaries: DATEFORM’s materials are not limited to solid surfaces, the material is capable of being molded in a variety of complex forms to suit bespoke design needs.

Not only panels

In addition to construction materials, ARDH Collective has ventured into the realm of consumer products with DATEBREW. This unique coffee alternative, crafted from premium date seeds, offers a rich and intricate flavor profile enhanced with cardamom. DATEBREW promotes a caffeine-free lifestyle while embodying sustainability by utilizing date seeds that would otherwise be discarded.

credits: Aftab Ahmed

About ARDH Collective

ARDH Collective is a perfect example of innovation and sustainability in the region. By transforming waste into valuable resources, they are not only redefining construction standards, but also setting a precedent for future initiatives. 

ARDH Collective was born from the collective aspirations of four individuals passionate about sustainable materials. Alhaan Ahmed, Alyina Ahmed, and Maximo Tettamanzi, the driving force behind the collective, have their roots in prestigious academic institutions. Alhaan Ahmed and Nikhiliesh Mohan conceptualized DATEFORM during their undergraduate years at the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation – an institution Maker Faire Rome has collaborated with in several occasions (you can read about it here). Their shared vision of a sustainable material powerhouse was cemented at the Global Grad Show Dubai, now known as Prototypes for Humanity, where their innovations were showcased

Outlook on innovation in the UAE

“The UAE is a nation that really believes in the power of innovation. It not only fosters it through the many initiatives, educational hubs and communities it’s crafted, but also supports by experimenting, testing and refining through real world applications. It’s a country that’s constantly evolving and pioneering technologies in a variety of sectors. We are extremely fortunate grateful for the support of the country’s leadership and its eagerness to adopt and shift to more sustainable practices and solutions across industries,” says Alhaan Ahmed, CEO of ARDH Collective.

Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) has been instrumental in nurturing startups like ARDH Collective. Mohammad Abdullah, President of DIDI, says of the company, “It is truly incredible to witness the remarkable journey of ARDH Collective, a DIDI-born startup, and its continued success reinforces our commitment to fostering innovation and sustainability in the design sector.

sources: Wired I DIDI

cover image: DATEFORMS

author: Barbara Marcotulli