Terrazzo To Change The World.
It’s no surprise that China’s strength in production has led the world to rely on the country for the goods it supplies, importing much more from the Far East than we export to it. In 2015, Britain’s trade deficit with China was £19.6 billion, while the US’s was almost 17 times this figure. But with the level of production demands put on the world’s most populous country – as with every large nation – there is a disastrous amount of waste and pollution that goes with it. This is not a hoax, Mr Trump.
We stumbled upon one company at Milan Design Week that has approached the environmental impact of an often overlooked industry contributing to it – ceramics production – and discovered how they are turning this waste into beautifully designed, functional products and tackling the problem in their own unique way.
Bentu Design started out as a small, independent design service before founding its own brand in 2012. They have now created Ceramics Made, a material regeneration experiment using wasted tiles to make terrazzo. Their range of products up this point, which varies from lighting to soap dishes, all have the basic function of the concrete material they are made from as the first consideration with their end use incorporated in the barest form of design. Simple and familiar, the raw or polished concrete finish provides all the decoration necessary, with its pure grey colour and subtle visual nuances. The young design team at Bentu – whose common goal is to produce great design with a view to sustainability – spent five years researching and developing the process of using waste materials and combining it with their first love: concrete. They wanted to produce materials that could be used again, as building materials, furniture and decorative finishes, as well as household objects.
All four million tonnes of the discarded ceramics dumped, sometimes illegally, in China is a much larger issue than Bentu can solve, but their Ceramics Made project is putting a handsome, well-designed dent in the problem.