Coal: Post-Fuel considers coal as material
Coal: Post-Fuel, a project by designer Jesper Eriksson, considers an alternative, future use of coal as a material, re-evaluating the material’s image as dirty fuel.
According to Eriksson, “In the instance of coal, the meaning we have assigned to it is that of a fossil fuel for energy production. Its value is derived from its own destruction and the energy released through the combustion process.” As fuel, coal was what made innovation possible throughout the Industrial Revolution. However, with the issues of global warming and air quality becoming more pressing, coal as fuel is no longer viewed in a favourable light and has turned into a symbol of pollution.
With his project, Eriksson aims to change the connotation that surrounds coal. “It is the CO2 that is released from burning it that is harmful, not the material,” he says. “In fact, the compressed organic sedimentary rock, or million year-long geological process is in itself a rare and quite extraordinary carbon conservation – a way to store energy, not release it.”
To prove his point, Eriksson used coal as material for architecture and interior design. His designs include flooring, furniture and other objects in solid coal. Some of the pieces are left in the material’s raw state, while others are processed into a finish similar to black marble.
By using the material in this way, Eriksson forces viewers to consider the question ‘If the idea of coal as a building material is accepted, how and why does a coal mine differ from a marble quarry?’
Coal: Post-Fuel was on display at the London Design Biennale from 4-23 September 2018.