Tobi Trübenbacher


For the project LEAVING LEAVES I focused on the fine ramification and filigree vein structure inside of leaves.

It was early spring when we started with the project, so the only green plants I could find where Ivy-leaves. Thus, I started to experiment a lot with this plant and different techniques or chemicals in order to clear away the green chlorophyll from the leafs and create increasingly transparent „leaf-skeletons“.

I finally found the solution to do this in a mixture of bleach powder and soda, in wich I cooked the ivy for over three ours and wich enabled me to carefully remove the green chlorophyll-skins with different tools. The result were multifaceted, unique veiny patterns and textures, that are arousing fascination and providing some food for new thoughts.

Spectators of this project are getting inspired to notice trees and leaves as highly komplex forms of life, by showing and uncovering this extremely branched and ramified vain system.

As a designer, I intended here to let nature tell this story by itself, by just placing it on a pedestal and quite literally putting it in the right light.

Besides arousing fascination for nature and its operating principles, the depicted process of decomposition in nature should also raise questions about what remains if nature slowly disappears? What will our world look like, when we continue exterminating species, clearing existing forests or woodlands and pollute our environment?


  1. The aesthetic of the leave structures is fascinating. You discovered a rich layer of information in those leaves. Then you made a decision to add another information layer with written text. That makes one wonder whether that typographic layer can actually compete with or add value to the information density of the leave structures. The contents of the text strikes me as rather… simple.

    1. Probably you are right, Ralph! In the arrangement depicted on the last photograph I just wonted to try out the text as a further element to see how it appeals. But the text is added in a way, that it easily can be removed again.

  2. Now the exciting question is: What can the leaves “tell us” and how could one bring about that information? Is it about growing as physics + time + structure? is it about variation? About adaption of form? About materials of various strength? About the interface between light, air, and water? What fascinates you personally about those leaves?

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