Khaled Shalkha and Sara Farha have joined forces to create a sustainable alternative to Portland cement called Datecrete, the world’s first date pit-based cement. The design duo undertook a formal study of date pits during their participation in the Tanween by Tashkeel programme to create their patent-pending sustainable material Datecrete.
Historically, roasted and finely-ground date seeds were used to produce organic kohl in the UAE. Utilising a similar process, Datecrete makes use of the date seeds’ mechanical properties and is crushed to create a smooth texture and sturdy build that is stronger than traditional cement. This industrial, bio-degradable material contains no traces of cement or resin and captures CO2 over its lifetime, marking it as a potential pioneer in sustainable alternatives to Portland cement. Its process holds a lower carbon footprint than traditional cement and is not water-intensive.
Sara Farha is an architect, urban planner, and research-based artist. In March 2023, Farha debuted her first body of work, a series of Datecrete sculptures, alongside Khaled Shalkha as part of the group show ‘Getting Over the Color Green’ at Alserkal Avenue, Dubai. Khaled Shalkha is a multidisciplinary artist and designer with a background in chemical engineering. A graduate of the American University of Sharjah, he is keen to explore problem-solving at the intersection of culture, economy, and policy. He is currently studying for a Master’s in Energy and Sustainability Policy.
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