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Ceramic Stoneware Tiles

Agne creates high quality, durable and valuable products that are as sustainable as possible.

Glass Plates

Glass, similar to ceramic glaze, can also seal away any toxicity the metal waste may contain.

Material Research Samples

Through broad scale research, Agne has figured out exactly how much pigment to add to get the colour she wants. Colours remain earthy when the presence of iron is high in all the samples.

Shade Range

20% or more of the waste-derived pigment will result in shades of brown.

Metal Waste

Agne uses waste in the form of sludge or soil with high concentrations of metals.

Porcelain Cups

The goal is to challenge current mass manufacturing of industrial colour.

Textiles Coloured by Metal Waste Pigments

Agne is experimenting with textiles while collaborating with craftsmen as weavers and carpet makers.

Coloured Tiles used for Interior Design

The Netherlands has commissioned a project where Agne Kucerenkaite got the opportunity to translate her research into a series of ceramic tiles.

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Lab 23 Nov 2018

From toxic metal waste to new colouring agents, Ignorance is Bliss by Agne Kucerenkaite

Agne Kucerenkaite, a material designer currently based in the Netherlands is known for her work with waste and raw materials, more specifically, transforming them into new products through a series of experimental methods. “Ignorance is Bliss” is an ongoing project by the designer that’s currently gaining traction for its use of metal waste from industries such as soil remediation companies and water treatment plants, as a pigmenting agent.

The year 2015 saw Agne Kucerenkaite take part in a three-month exchange program in Arita, Japan, where she visited one of the country’s first porcelain production sites. Studying how local matter like Izumiyama rock and Shirakawa stone were used in creating porcelain and glaze eventually lead to her series “Ignorance is Bliss”– a growing collection of materials that are coloured using metallic industrial waste. Agne explains, “Ceramics are pure chemistry. Metal oxides are the main sources of colour in the glazes. Seeking additional meaning and context, I decided to focus on industrial metal waste.”

Ceramic Stoneware Tiles

Agne creates high quality, durable and valuable products that are as sustainable as possible.

“People who are not familiar with the ceramic-making process don’t know that almost all glazes are made of toxic materials.”

After reaching out to various potential sources, Theo Pouw (a soil remediation company), Aquaminerals (an organisation finding solutions for water companies manage waste) and a project called ABdK, provided Agne with waste in the form of sludge or soil with high concentrations of metals. Depending on the metal, different soil samples have varying levels of toxicity.

Glass Plates

Glass, similar to ceramic glaze, can also seal away any toxicity the metal waste may contain.

Material Research Samples

Through broad scale research, Agne has figured out exactly how much pigment to add to get the colour she wants. Colours remain earthy when the presence of iron is high in all the samples.

Eliminating Toxicity

Sludge from the soil remediation companies and zinc factories are considered toxic, meaning that the concentration of metals are high enough to affect living organisms. Agne mentions, “People who are not familiar with the ceramic-making process don’t know that almost all glazes are made of toxic materials.”

Shade Range

20% or more of the waste-derived pigment will result in shades of brown.

When fired the glaze becomes glass which changes its structure, rendering it suitable for handling. She goes on to mention, “The composition of chemicals I use are the same as other working in ceramics. The only difference is that I use waste instead of buying industrially produced pigments from these same metals”

“The use of waste in products effectively seals off toxic substances, contributing to a better quality of land, water and air.”

Creating Colours

Various colours are achieved depending on the quantity of waste pigments added in the material production. Regarding glazes, 10% of the waste-derived pigment will result in shades of green, while 20% or more will result in browns. Through broad scale research, Agne has figured out exactly how much pigment to add to get the colour she wants. Textiles are coloured using non toxic iron waste, which is also used to colour glass and wood.

Metal Waste

Agne uses waste in the form of sludge or soil with high concentrations of metals.

Porcelain Cups

The goal is to challenge current mass manufacturing of industrial colour.

Environmental Impact

Beyond creating aesthetically pleasing materials through alternative methods, Ignorance is Bliss has some rather serious environmental implications. The use of waste in products effectively seals off toxic substances, contributing to a better quality of land, water and air. Additionally, Ignorance is Bliss highlights the positive consequences of employing circular economy principles in highly pollutive fields that use large amounts of dyes such as the garment and textile industries.

Textiles Coloured by Metal Waste Pigments

Agne is experimenting with textiles while collaborating with craftsmen as weavers and carpet makers.

Coloured Tiles used for Interior Design

The Netherlands has commissioned a project where Agne Kucerenkaite got the opportunity to translate her research into a series of ceramic tiles.

Agne is of the opinion that it is only a matter of time before all waste is implemented in production. She goes on to state, “I am working towards the establishment of a tile production business, where metal waste can be used on a larger scale. Also, I am experimenting with textiles while collaborating with craftsmen as weavers and carpet makers.”

Ignorance is Bliss has been the recipient of much praise and several awards such as Lithuania’s National Design Award where it received first place. It was also a finalist for Dutch New Material Award 2018 and Dezeen Awards 2018.

Intrigued by Agne’s works? Visit her website here.