»Shards represents the ecological and aesthetic potential of urban mining projects. In an energyconscious process, glass and bricks from rubble are baked into new tiles that differ decidedly from the general standard in terms of colour and feel. Each piece is unique with it’s very own appeal.«Werner Aisslinger, jury member
Three questions for Lea Schücking
Can you remember the moment when you first had the idea for Shards?
How did the idea become a product?
I always found it exciting to develop materials and mix and combine different resources, above all if this combination of basic materials creates something entirely new and unique. I had the idea of using building rubble as part of a university project on the topic of upcycling. I wanted to use raw materials that are available in large quantities and which are wrongly labelled as "waste" – meaning they end up in the waste container. For me, the fact that Shards has become a proper business is a demonstration of the serious interest that’s out there. A great deal can be achieved through urban mining, namely the use of secondary raw materials from the urban context, and I'm happy if I can contribute as a product designer.
What was your personal highlight in the development process for Shards?
Was there a low point?
Developing a new material is always an audacious and time-consuming endeavour, whereby it is important to remain open to change and to not force the material into a rigid conceptual mould. You work your way up step by step and begin a long process of experimentation. But at some point, the moment comes when you have to decide whether to proceed with the material or with the intended application. In my case, I attempted for a long time to form the material into a bowl. However, all of the laboriously produced bowls emerged flat from the oven. Out of sheer frustration, I let the project sit for a while and devoted myself to other things. It took some months before I suddenly realised what the material wanted to be and how I could employ it properly. That was the hour of birth of the Shards tiles.
Where do you see yourself and your project in the next five years?
I believe that consumers have long been ready for more products made from secondary raw materials. I see my tiles in numerous kitchens, on terraces, in culinary establishments and in the area of wellness. The beauty of material development such as this is the ever-present possibility of further development. For Shards, this not only means new format sizes and application areas, but also the expansion of the raw materials that we use and thus also the range of products. In my opinion, there’s no reason not to give priority to tiles made using construction rubble. Within the next five years, I hope to have found the right partners with whom I can develop Shards to its full potential. I am looking forward to this journey, and equally look forward to the raw materials and projects that I encounter along the way.