Domesticating limestone – neo stoneware

About Project

Calcium carbonate is a common material widely spread on Earth; it is dissolved in rivers and lakes; we can find it in skeletons and shells; it forms “tufa” and “stalagmites”; it builds up caves and mountains and it is also in our kettles and water pipes. It has various applications in our life in agriculture, food industry, glass industry and cement production. However, the main resource of limestone nowadays is mostly from quarries, we extract from the land and create messy “tailings” in the landscape. What kind of alternatives could we find in our surroundings?

One of the forms of calcium carbonate is “limescale”, a matter we produce in our water softening processes yet is often overlooked and discarded. In my research, I attempt to reintroduce limescale as a promising material to build and live with. I research how to reconfigure limescale and focus on creating “geopolymers”, a chemical process to bind inorganic materials together. Based on the material research, I speculate what a “neo stone age” would look like, and how this harvesting and production method could be integrated into the city, and change both our interiors and exteriors. Can we become Earth dwellers in this domesticated landscape?

  • Collection of Neo stonewares
    Collection of Neo stonewares
    Made from geo-mimicking processesLime pellets
    Lime pellets
    The resource is harvested from water softening process. It is a by-product of the water treatment process. Seashells + sand
    Seashells + sand
    It is made from sand casting. Collection of Neo stonewares #2
    Collection of Neo stonewares #2
    Made from sand casting and dripping.A pot made from lime pellets
    A pot made from lime pellets
    The pot will be absorbed by plants.A table
    A table
    With infrastructure inside; like concrete but without cement; like ceramic but no need baking.Material samples
    Material samples
    With slags.Material sample #1
    Material sample #1
    Made from limestoneMaterial sample #2
    Material sample #2
    Made from limescaleThe Lime pellets
    The Lime pellets
    Harvested from a water treatment plant.The limescale
    The limescale
    Harvested from an ex-swimming pool.
  • Erco Lai
  • ercoffice
  • Product design: object | Eco project
  • https://vimeo.com/563840080
  • It started from an observation of seeing limescale generated in a kettle. In a way, we human actually keep producing "limestone" in our home everyday but now we just want to remove it. Thus, I began to do material research on limescale and tried to make stonewares from this artificial limestone.


Erco Lai



Collection of Neo stonewares Lime pellets Seashells + sand Collection of Neo stonewares #2 A pot made from lime pellets A table Material samples Material sample #1 Material sample #2 The Lime pellets The limescale