Pioneering geo-specific glass In collaboration with:
Lulu grew up by the river. She credits the waters of her childhood as sparking her interest in sustainability. This interest evolved to focus on a more sustainable method of glass- making. As a bio-pioneer at CSM, she has collaborated with Thames Water to create a sustainable glass unique to London using quagga mussels: Thames Glass. For LCW, we have connected her with the architecture studio Bureau de Change to demonstrate how this glass could become a physical part of everyday infrastructure too. Quagga mussels are an invasive non-native species in the UK that cause blockages in Thames Water's transfer tunnels and are costly to remove, usually ending up in landfill.
“There are many ways we can help prevent the spread of non-native species, which left unchecked can have a significant and often destructive impact. Adopting the right biosecurity measures is essential to protect our local environments and, in this case, has the added benefit of using the quagga mussels instead of sand in the creation of stunning glassware, making this project hugely exciting in the field of sustainability.”
Rebecca Elliott, biodiversity manager, Thames Water.
Architects Katerina Dionysopoulou and Billy Mavropoulos of Bureau de Change saw design potential in developing cast glass tiles that could be used at an architectural scale, thereby disseminating Thames Glass back into the fabric of the land in which it originated. The delicate patterns of the tiles created for London Craft Week are informed by the city’s past architectural contributions, ornamentation of terracotta chimney pots produced in the mid-19th century by Royal Doulton, who also manufactured the water pipes that improved the sanitation system. The traditional fabrication technique of casting is applied to transpose London’s heritage into a new contemporary context.
“We were immediately inspired by Lulu’s work and were very keen to take a material ubiquitous to the built environment and apply a sustainable lens to it. Our installation takes a material that is produced from a sustainable source and harvested from local grounds to create a design exposition of past architectural contributions to the city.”
Katerina Dionysopoulou and Billy Mavropoulos, Bureau de Change
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