Terres émaillées

Lucie Ponard

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- story by MaterialDistrict

In the Parisian region alone, more than 20 million tons of excavated soil are extracted each year. Only 20% to 30% of inert excavated soil is recycled, while the rest is sent to landfills. This soil is considered waste even though it can be a resource. The current development plan to extend metro lines in Paris and the suburbs generates even more excavated soil.

This innovative project transforms this excavated soil and demolition waste into glazed ceramic tiles. These excavated materials, such as clay, marl, sand, limestone, as well as demolition debris like bricks, granite, and glass, find a new purpose. Glaze recipes have been formulated by mixing finely ground waste materials in specific proportions. Clay body recipes have been developed using excavated clays and marls. As a result, the ceramic tile and/or the glazing can be made from fieldwork waste, offering a sustainable alternative to regular ceramic tiles. Second hand tiles are also covered with new glazes made from fieldwork materials.

The different types of clay contain various minerals, offering a wide variety of possibilities for colours and textures, which showcase the diverse palette of Paris. The colours represent the origins of the clays. These ceramic tiles are locally sourced and tell a story. They are water-resistant, solid, and can be applied on walls inside and outside. While producing new ceramics requires excavating a lot of natural materials, this project both reduces waste and prevents the excavation of natural materials.

This project won the FAIRE Paris open call, and was granted fundings by the Pavillon de l’Arenal, the Paris Center for architecture and urbanism.

Material Properties