Ashes to ashes


Form/Design center, Stora Enso

Curated by: Kiosk Studio

Product photo: David Stjernholm

Text edited by: Cajsa Carlsson, Dezeen

Ashes to ashes

An interdisciplinary project collaboration between Kajsa Willner and Stora Enso with the goal of developing new sustainable materials and applications using industrial waste. A project called What matters 2.0 organized by Form/Design center.

Designer Kajsa Willner collaborated with pulp and paper materials company Stora Enso to turn biofuel ash from its production process into a series of pedestals with history-informed shapes.

“When tackling many of today’s challenges I believe an important key can be to look back in history for solutions.” Willner says. “Starting with the Egyptian pyramids, on to the temples of Greece and later to the Romans who produced Roman concrete from volcanic ash, I found contemporary research on geopolymer, often based on coal ash.”

“Geopolymer is an inorganic 3D structure formed between amorphous SiO2 and Al2O3 at medium heat (about 100 degrees) in the presence of strong alkali.”

“These components are found in high concentrations in fly ash from coal combustion, which has been researched the most, but they are also found in smaller quantities in fly ash from biofuels like the one from Stora Enso.”

According to the designer, with optimal mixing, geopolymer concrete is stronger, more environmentally resistant and has a lower carbon footprint than concrete made using Portland cement, the most common type of cement.

“I wanted to create massive, cast objects, to really demonstrate the potential with the material and that it can work to replace Portland cement in many applications,” Willner said.

The results will be shown at the Metabolic Processes for Leftovers exhibition in January, curated by Copenhagen-based Kiosk Studio.

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