The use of volcanic matter in architecture has a long and rich history. From the Bronze age Jardines of Pantelleria; strong protective walls built around delicate fruit trees in raw volcanic rock, to Roman concrete; a material including pulverised lava rock added for durability, to César Manrique’s evocative Lanzarote architecture of the 1960s which so seamlessly and sympathetically integrates into its surrounding volcanic landscape. ExCinere1 is a new take on volcanic lava tradition as a building material and a manifest of the enduring attraction between humans and the impossible force of nature.
Dzek2 and Formafantasma have collaborated to produce a useful architectural product that makes full use of volcanic lava’s material properties. The relationship between the human and the volcano; one of the most visceral symbols for the untameable force of nature, is ridden with allegory. And so this project also became a battle of wills between man and volcano. Although Volcanic ash and basalt rock may appear inert, their high metal oxide content makes them complex and unpredictable to work with. Three years of exploding, imploding, cracking and caving were endured before ExCinere’s careful balance of porcelain body, ash glazes, firing temperature and method was achieved.
Formafantasma has been researching the potential of volcanic lava as a design material since 2010, observing the detrimental impact of mass –tourism on Sicily's landscape and culture. In 2014 project, De Natura Fossilium, this was addressed by thoroughly investigating the culture of lava in the Mount Etna and Stromboli regions of Italy and culminated in a collection of expertly – crafted glass, basalt and textile works. The ExCinere project was conceived to further explore the application of this fascinating naturally – occurring, self-generating, and abundant material.
ExCinere is a refined collection of volcanic ash-glazed tiles suitable for interior and exterior surfaces; from kitchen counters and bathroom floors to architectural facade clad – ding. The tile is available in two sizes and four volcanic glazes. The colours and textures are created by mixing varying quantities, particle sizes and densities of volcanic matter, resulting in surfaces that are evocative of the dynamic landscape from which they come.
Notes, References and External Links1. ExCinere. The result of more than three years of research and experimentation, ExCinere® is suitable for both interior and exterior surfaces, from kitchen counters and bathroom floors to architectural facade cladding.
2. Dzek creates original architectural products guided by nature. Their materials are developed in collaboration with designers, architects and material scientists with radical perspectives on resources and design systems.
ContributorsCONCEPT, DESIGN: Andrea Trimarchi, Simone Farresin
DESIGN DEVELOPMENT: Simon Ballen Botero, Marlou Rutten, Jeroen Van Der Gruiter
PHOTO CREDITS: Delfino Sisto Legnani, Marco Cappelletti, Nick Ballon
LiteratureWallpaper*, Formafantasma’s tiles rise from the ashes of a Sicilian volcano
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