ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands—Dutch designer Lotte Douwes transforms scrap porcelain shards that otherwise would have been tossed as waste in her stunning, translucent ‘Shadows of Light’ series—a range of earth-conscientious porcelain tableware. Kaolin, the clay used to make porcelain, is exclusively mined in the mountains of the Chinese city of Jingdezhen, the so-called “porcelain capital of the world.”
But the global demand for porcelain has had a major impact on this resource, according to Douwes. As a result, the powder has become less pure, and it has become harder to achieve translucency.
Concerned about the environmental impact of the fine-porcelain industry, Douwes explored alternative ways to create the delicate ceramic, even traveling all the way to Jingdezhen to deepen her investigations. Her discovery: approximately 50-percent of all porcelain produced goes to waste, due to imperfections, and decided to find a way of reusing this waste material, Dezeen writes.
“I want to create an alternative to pure white kaolin and use this as a starting point for new designs. And my designs will provide insight into the process from raw material to finished product.”
Douwes explains she grinds up the scrap porcelain from her other projects and mixes the ground powder into kaolin, the clay used to in the porcelain manufacturing process. Her process yields a speckled surface texture, which also maintains the characteristic integrity of porcelain’s translucency.
First presented at the 2017 Dutch Design Week (Eindhoven, October 21 -29, 2018), the range called ‘Shadows of Light’ includes grey, cream and charcoal-colored espresso cups, coffee cups and plates.
About the designer: Douwes graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2011 and began her own design studio in the same year. She designs and produces her own products and creates commissioned items for a variety of clients. Douwes’ designs are characterized by simple solutions that approach the world around us from a different perspective such as incorporating the volume of the room creating a literal connection with the space, bringing a dynamic element into mainly static interiors. Douwes’ designs are practical objects and solution oriented.
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