Foam China (2010)

In recent years I have taught in various places, including the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. I met Marjan van Aubel there as a student. A long time after that she told me about an experiment she was doing for her graduation that made porcelain froth. After her exams Marjan teamed up with the lab to further develop this highly promising material into a patent. During a work period at the European ceramic work center we carried out countless tests and made samples to find out everything about the process. We also developed a large prototype that would demonstrate to what extreme extent we could let the material expand in a mold.

Foam China is a material that has the capability to produce objects that have similar qualities to bone china, but in large volume and extremely lightweight. Just like bread, the ceramic dough literally rises in the kiln, expanding to about 300 percent of its original volume. Its closed cell structure makes it strong and highly insulating and its expanding nature allows it to be shaped in high-precision molds. Foam China is an ongoing project now being further developed for architectural applications at renowned Dutch ceramics firm Royal Tichelaar.

(photocredit: Marjan van Aubel, JL, Emiel Elgersma)