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Designed by Studio ThusThat
This Is Copper Collection 2021
Slag is a waste byproduct of mining and metallurgy. In the production–and even recycling–of metal, slag is cast aside as a man-made lava in mountainous heaps.
Despite being seen as a waste, slag benefits from unique properties, and can be used as an alternative to cement—a ‘geopolymer’–with 80% lower carbon footprint.
In this collection, ThusThat has developed a variety of techniques with the scientists of KU Leuven to create monolithic black forms of varying scales.
The series aims to negotiate a new functional and aesthetic appreciation for a material that is an inevitability of our future, as much as it is a trace of our past; alongside industrial era slag heaps that dot the European landscape are growing new slag mountains in the age of electricity and renewables. This project asks what this future landscape can offer.
The monolithic forms echo these slag heaps, textured by the hand-made process of forming in a way that mirrors the molten origins of the material. Each piece is joined with hammered copper surfaces that speak to the long heritage of copper-smithing that has disappeared in the age of copper wires and cables.
This Is Copper Collection
Copper is ubiquitous to our modern world, yet it is largely invisible. It is the first metal used by humankind, and it is crucial for a renewable future: a wind turbine alone can contain up to five tonnes of copper, and ten tonnes of the metal are needed per kilometre of high-speed railway.
But what exactly is copper? The metal we know is only part of a much wider material story. Mining overburden, tailings, metal concentrates, rare metals like gold and silver, sulfuric acid, sulphate solution, slag, and more.
All of this is copper, or in other words is a direct result of processing, using, and recycling copper. This project exposes and proposes potential uses for some of these overlooked byproducts as the search for evermore copper continues.
About the designer
Led by KevinRouff and Paco Böckelmann, ThusThat bridges collectible design with material science to create pieces that are strong, simple, and direct in form, keeping the complexity packed within the materiality itself. Their work with wastes of the mining and metallurgy industries have received widespread recognition, exhibition, and international awards, with pieces in the permanent collection of the London DesignMuseum and Design Museum Gent.