Global pollution is caused among many other things also by metals, which are non-renewable by nature and as such limited in availability. Against this background, the “Ignorance Is Bliss” project follows a committed approach. It wants to raise awareness of the enormous amount of metal residues, such as those that occur in the drinking water supply and soil remediation industries. This led to the idea of how and for what to sensibly recycle such toxic metal waste. As a result of broad-scale material research and a time-consuming prototyping process, the idea was born to use metal waste by applying it as a pigment for ceramic tiles, colour-glazing them purely using 100 per cent industrial metal waste. The research had revealed a surprising effect in that the higher the contamination of the raw metal waste material, the more vibrant the resulting glazed surface of the tiles became, leading to a truly non-standardised surface appearance. One part of the metal residues for these tiles comes from a soil remediation company based in the Dutch city of Weert. That company generates more than 30,000 tons of toxic metal waste per year. Thus, the value of a previously “valueless” and even toxic metal waste is recovered and recycled sensibly in an efficient process and for possible expansion in the future. Apart from the waste, no additional metal colour pigments are needed for producing the tiles. The tiles are versatile in use and represent environmentally sound, visually distinctive and truly unique design objects.
Statement by the Jury
These tiles acquire their special quality through the use of metal waste for their glaze. Following an innovative process, previously non-recyclable metal residues are thus given a new life. As part of the “Ignorance Is Bliss” project, the tiles truly exemplify environmental sustainability. Each of the tiles is unique thanks to the special raw material, which lends the surfaces their vivid appearance and special feel.