MARCH 14 - JUNE 14 2020   
Collaboration for Olafur Eliasson’s material lab at “Sometimes the River is the Bridge”, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

MARCH 13 - JUNE 6 2020   
Kleureyck – Van Eyck's Colours in Design, Design Museum Gent

FEB 1 - MAY 17 2020   
Design Transfigured/Waste Reimagined, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Studio ThusThat designs and makes with uncommon materials.
Right now we are exploring industrial wastes.


This is Copper

Copper is ubiquitous to our modern world, yet it is largely invisible. It is the oldest metal mined by humankind, with ancient uses dating back 8000 years. The metal was historically used for its malleability and antimicrobial properties (indeed, even against viruses ). Today, it is crucial for a renewable future: a wind turbine alone can contain up to five tonnes of copper, and ten tonnes of the metal are needed per kilometre of high-speed railway.

But what exactly is copper? The metal we know is only part of a much wider material story. Mining overburden, tailings, metal concentrates, rare metals like gold and silver, sulfuric acid, sulphate solution, slag, and more. 

All of this is copper, or in other words is a direct result of processing, using, and recycling copper. This project exposes and proposes potential uses for these overlooked byproducts as we continue to search for new ore streams.

Slag is the leftover impurities of the smelting process. During the pyrometallurgical purification process, slag is extracted and poured out in molten form, cooling into a black glassy stone — like man-made lava.

In this project, slag is used as a geopolymer. 

Geopolymerisation is a technology that uses common inorganic compounds to create high-performance alternatives to standard cement. Because the slag has already gone through the high-temperature smelting process, it is reactive and ready to be used as a binder. It thus replaces the need for cement etirely. Additionally, coarser forms of slag can be used as aggregate in the place of sand. The result is a very strong black concrete-like body made from slag, with about 77% lower CO2  footprint than standard cement.

The project was realised in close collaboration with  KU Leuven and Metallo Group, Belgium.