Lexus Design Award 2019 - Finalist
This project seeks a new purpose for desert sand, a naturally abundant material which has not been widely used. By creating composite materials using desert sand and non-toxic binders, this project proposes new products derived from experimentation and research.
The result is two product outcomes: desert sand infused into glass tiles, and ceramic tiles. Marine sand has been widely used in the construction and glass industries. The tiles I have designed would allow the implementation of desert sand composite materials into these industries. Yet the production process involves an analogue approach which evokes the tactile qualities of this material to create haptic feedback with the users.
The beginning of this project, most of the research was reading papers and articles about the desert sand. Composition and use of this material were my key interests. I also made many quick experiments to understand the binding properties of desert sand with other materials.
I drew inspiration from the texture of this material and the Iznik tiles, a traditional Turkish fritware which uses sand in their composition. While the composite desert sand material could be made into any product, tiles show a potential to implementation of this material along with it’s haptic feedback.
The main challenge was to control composition of this material while combining with other materials. Desert sand combined with jesmonite, alginate and powder clays were too brittle. Ceramics and glass were the two strongest outcomes. Some of the main engineering concerns such as thermal stress were resolved over many tests.
Once the strength issue was resolved, I wanted to let material guide the design. The tile designs are geometric forms, allowing material to show it’s true nature. The squares, half circles and quadrants can be patterned in many ways to create playful shapes. Glass tiles play with light and reflections.
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