From the Underground tiles

United Kingdom

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- story by MaterialDistrict

Metro tile made from the waste of the London Underground for the London Underground itself.

Tiles are a defining feature of the London Underground, the world’s oldest metro system, yet their material origins are often unknown. Typically, virgin resources extracted through open-pit mining are used in production.

To address this issue, these tiles are made from the waste produced during the construction and operation of the London Underground itself. The materials include naturally forming London clay excavated during tunnel boring and iron oxide-rich dust from train wheels grinding against steel tracks.

The tiles are cast from moulds provided by H&E Smith, a tile manufacturer which refurbishes tiles for the London Underground and was originally designed by Leslie Green, the architect behind many iconic London Underground stations in the early 20th century.

From The Underground offers a juxtaposition to the opaque origins and environmental consequences of ubiquitous materials within our built environment.

Material Properties