furniture made of dust

Limestone dust may sound like air pollution, but two designers have managed to turn it into furniture, giving waste a new destination.

“We wanted to combine our experience in innovative design with our knowledge of materials to create a collection of functional home objects that span the past and present using traditional material in a futuristic way,” said Susannah Mifsud, co -founder of the creative design studio. Floating world.

Together with his partner Matt Mondini, they identified limestone dust, a by-product of the mining process, as having “the potential to be reinvented”.

When they came up with the idea of ​​using limestone dust and started experimenting with it, the designers visited quarries and noticed that it was only occasionally used as a grout, for “fili when the construction was in stone.

Otherwise, it has just been collected in a heap at the quarry and has no other meaningful use.

Drawing on their foundry know-how, they have developed an innovative composite material that allows for a variety of shapes and applications, while retaining the qualities of limestone that attracted them in the first place.

A lamp and a chair made of limestone dust.

Mondini’s background in manufacturing meant he was familiar with the technique of mixing aggregates with binders to form composite materials.

Nonetheless, they spent nearly five months working with limestone dust in different ways to understand its many properties, mixing it with various binders and testing ratios for a wider range of shapes and applications.

The methods used to develop the material dictated how they designed each piece, Mifsud said, explaining that the new composite gave them the opportunity to “work the limestone in new and unusual ways” – to shape it and roll it like dough to shape it like clay. , and even paint and pour it like plaster.

The result is the Limestone Home Objects collection, which consists of a cubby shelf, a set of bowls, a planter, a lamp, a chair and a side table.

Limestone dust is generally used for grouting, not as shelving.Limestone dust is generally used for grouting, not as shelving.

History written in limestone

Titled “An Island Where Limestone Pretends to Grow,” the collection “looks to the future while having its roots in the island’s past,” Mifsud said.

Its designers were drawn to limestone not only for its golden hue and visual beauty, but also for its “archetypal significance”, she continued.

“From huge stone slabs at Hagar Qim to austere medieval chapels and intricate Baroque cathedrals built by knights, Malta’s history can be traced in limestone.”

It is the common thread that winds through the island’s architectonic past and forms the backdrop for daily life,” Mifsud explained of the concept behind the project.

Dust is often associated with the negative aspects of construction, but Mifsud argued that it was a designer’s job to “find opportunities in these issues, especially in today’s world, with a increased awareness of environmental and waste issues”.

When looking for materials to work with, designers should look locally for ways to reuse, reuse and recycle waste, she insisted.

“With this project, the most important aspect was the circular design concept; giving limestone dust, especially since it is a finished material, a new cycle of life – a cycle that has various new forms.

An ode to the island

The recently established creative design studio, Floating World, focuses on the intersection of art and design – a field Mondini and Mifsud have moved into despite both having a background in architecture.

“We were interested in exploring the middle ground between the man-made and the natural, the rectilinear and the curvilinear, the machine-cut quarry face and the wind-blown sea-like cliff face,” they wrote. they stated.

The collection merges their material research with their experience of living on an island “where the limestone claims to grow”, and Floating World’s floating limestone objects are an ode to the earth itself.

“It gave us the opportunity to develop and test our ideas to a level that we weren’t able to do in the past and immerse ourselves deeply in the process,” they continued of the collection. large-scale furniture.

“The collection designs blur the line between a sculpture and a piece of furniture, in keeping with the studio’s emphasis on artisanal and material processes, with each element handmade and unique,” they explained.

The idea is to bring this type of collectible design into people’s homes, so mass production is not on the cards.

But Floating World, where craftsmanship plays a major role in design, aims to establish itself in the global collectible design industry.

The collection will be exhibited between Friday and Sunday at the Malta Society of Arts in Valletta.

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