Porous porcelain

Porcelain is a special form of ceramics that required a great deal of knowledge and experience. Designers use it mainly to make plates, bowls and similar tableware. Now, one designer has added great functionality to a new look for porcelain.

The materials by designer Djim Berger are porous and lightweight. In his collection of lightweight porcelain pieces, the designer literally reinvents the material, generating a version that is lighter yet strangely also stronger than standard porcelain.

This technical performance is obtained by mixing porcelain with beads of polystyrene in a 1 : 2 ratio. This was long considered impossible because of the high quantity of material to be added. However, the result here shows that it certainly is possible.

A first firing in the kiln leaves a little polystyrene residue. The designer opens up the skin of the material and fires the clay again. The fire then burns away the remaining polymer, sintering the clay to reveal a new, airy porcelain. The end result has a structure that is something like a bee hive or an amorphous mineral. Its skeletal structure also means that it is also stronger than standard porcelain, and can therefore be adapted to innovative designs, such as for furniture.

He considers himself a porcelain alchemist, busy opening up the porcelain spectrum. While many designers and manufacturers consider porcelain a complex, laborious and precious material to work with, Djim has no such reservations. This is great because it has led to all kinds of shapes and colours, taking the material to new visual and sensual levels.

Djim Berger is a graduate of the Dutch Design Academy Eindhoven. Images and information via the designer.