“Problematic, glorious, scandalous, essential—the material has many facets to it.”
If not us, then who? Such was the theme for Dutch Design Week Eindhoven, challenging its 2,500-plus participants to conceive innovative solutions for our environmentally endangered planet. Artist and product designer Jesper Eriksson responded with Coal: Post Fuel, a project in which he explored the potential of the much-maligned sedimentary rock.
He found that the raw material is suitable for producing graphic furniture and flooring: a square side table with a solid coal top weighing half what a marble tabletop might, a round stool, and 3 1/2-inch-square polished tiles that are nearly 1 inch thick. All were cut with the diamond saw blades commonly used at stone quarries and finished with a natural stone sealant.
“When pushing conventional materials in new directions, there’s uncertainty,” Eriksson says. But his investigation was certainly beneficial—and not just aesthetically. Using coal to create furniture means there’s that much less carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.
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