Collection 2022 limestone+sand
Collection 2022 sand
Collection 2022 limepellets
Collection 2022 limepellets+sand
Collection 2022 limestone
Name of the submitted project or idea (in English or both English and your language)
URL of a video introducing the work（under 5 minutes）
Detailed explanation of the submitted project or idea (in English or both English and your language)
Mineralloop is a project about fixing minerals with minerals. This new technique is based on a material research of "Neostone'', also known as geopolymer, and is developed to give broken or imperfect glassware and ceramic a new touch, similar to kintsugi.
Erco Lai collected unwanted glassware from second-hand stores in the Netherlands and covered them with "Neosone" that he developed using mineral-based industrial waste, like marble powder from stone factories, limestone powder from quarries, sand from construction sites, lime pellets from the water softening process and glass chips from urban mining. This material doesn’t require firing or adding cements inside, and adds a new layer and feeling to the object.
Many products in second-hand shops aren’t sold and are then sent to the incinerator. The designer thus decided to give a new life to glass and ceramic’s products. For that, he developed this new craft to give them coatings made with waste minerals. Moreover, this will be a potential business model to run social enterprises.
What to design for a world of plenty? Natural resources are getting exhausted. Erco Lai believes in alternative ways of designing, using what is already there. This results in a local and circular production.
#UnwantedMinerals #IndustrialWaste #UrbanEcoSystem
If you have a website for your submitted project or idea, please provide the URL
Special Prize Question 1: How does your project or idea make use of local resources, such as materials and knowledge, to tackle its challenge?
On one hand, the resources of Mineralloop are waste/unwanted minerals from local industries. For instance, in the collection 2022, I harvested lime pellets from the water treatment plant in The Hague and limescale from a former swimming pool. For your reference, lime pellets are a by-product from the water softening process, and consist of the minerals dissolved in the water, mainly of calcium carbonate.
On the other hand, the idea of Neostone was starting from the observation of boiling water. We actually keep creating "artificial stone" every day in the kettle while boiling the water, but now we just want to remove it. In fact, this white, yellowish and chalky deposit, also known as limescale, is a new kind of mineral resource we can harvest within the urban ecosystem. The technique of Mineralloop also learned a lot for the water softening process, using caustic soda (NaOH) to force minerals to deposit.
Moreover, Mineralloop does not end up creating artificial stone but a circular material life. Neostones are water resistant but will dissolve again when it soaks in the water for a long time.(depending on the size, from a week to a month) In other words, Neostone can be reshaped again within the same making process and keep these minerals looping with the urban ecosystem. Consequently, Neostone can be regarded as reusable concrete and Mineralloop as a new craft to give glassware/ceramic fresh coatings.
Overall, the concept of Minerallop is: starting to harvest the mineral resources from our local human system, and creating a circular material life within the urban ecosystem.
Special Prize Question 2: How does your project or idea sustain its activities through the involvement of the local community?
Mineralloop needs the local community's help to harvest, to make and to produce. Briefly, Mineralloop is a new kind of craftsmanship, new type of second-hand stores and a new concept of social enterprise. It connects local waste materials and brings a fresh perspective on glassware/ceramic recycling; it can be adapted according to local resources; it brings a new option for local makers too.
On one hand, it needs to search suitable resources from industries, the local community can bridge from local industries to Mineralloop. For instance, I worked closely with the water treatment plant in The Hague for not only harvesting materials but learning the specific softening process they used. On the other hand, it requires the local community to select and produce proper objects. In my case, I run seamlessly with local thrift shops and second-hand stores to collect unwanted glassware and ceramic. In most cases, those objects are still in good use, just not "fashionable" enough.
Thus, I will consider Mineralloop as a new guild system, which can bring a fresh perspective on mineral-based waste materials, can be elaborated to any other city according to the situation and offer a craftsmanship of Neostone.
Special Prize Question 3: How does your project or idea eliminate waste or pollution while regenerating natural resources?
Firstly, Neostone can be regarded as reusable concrete and the concrete industry is at the root of several environmental issues. For instance, Portland cement based concrete requires virgin resources and an energy intensive production process. Namely, it gives us an alternative way that keeps taking resources from nature. Mineralloop is working on both the craft and art of alternative materials, using ‘unwanted minerals’ to close material flows.
Secondly, glass/ceramic recycling has also shown some difficulties, like high energy consumption and clean resources requirement. Instead of recycling, Mineralloop aims to reuse them. Moreover, the making process does not require firing and most of the resources are local. Mineralloop provides a fresh perspective on mineral-based industrial waste that makes them become a resource and a new craftsmanship of artificial stones.
Thirdly, create a circular material within the urban ecosystem. The quality of this "Neostone" is to blur the boundary between earth-made and human-made. Furthermore, it shows, on one hand, we are part of Earth so we need to work with Earth as partners; on the other hand, we can make things like Earth by learning/following the Earth system.
Finally, can we develop new making methods using "Neostone" with industrial wastes? With this project, I am working on both the imagination and realization of alternative making materials, using unwanted minerals to close material flows within our urban ecosystem.