‘Ignorance is Bliss’ is an ongoing project about giving a new identity to metal waste by applying it as a pigment from industries such as drinking water supply and soil remediation into new valuable products and methods. As a result of broad-scale material research and prototyping, one outcome is interior/exterior ceramic tiles, which are coloured using 100% industrial metal waste. In this project, surprisingly, the more contaminated the raw material, the more vibrant the designed objects are.
The value of a currently ‘valueless’ and often toxic metal waste is recovered in a functional, process-efficient and scalable way. Waste is used instead of buying industrially produced pigments from the same metals. The waste source is reliable to ensure similar colours. Tiles can be produced in unlimited quantities and come in a variety of sizes and colours. The production factory is applying glazes by hands leading to subtle variations in shades. The products have a distinctive appearance, are safe, sustainability-focused and as research continues they gradually will evolve towards an even more environmentally friendly version. The aim of this project is to show that waste is not a limitation, but an opportunity and to challenge the current industrial color mass manufacture. ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ tiles won the Red Dot, Best of the Best Product Design 2020.