What if I told you that this plate was made from dirt that used to be in place of the nearest subway station?
In the "Urban Clay" project we discuss the possibility of Vienna as a mine for geogenic resources. Investigation into Vienna’s clay deposits revealed that vast amounts of clay are excavated during construction works, especially those related to the new subway routes, most of which find their destiny on disposal sites.
Our research tested the properties and suitability of urban clays both as a clay body and a glaze, resulting in a series of ceramic objects and glaze recipes.We have chosen to make simple pottery forms to best explore the properties of the found material. Using plaster molds during the fabrication process allowed us to test how the clay would perform in a smaller manufacture. The experimental glazes are based on local clay with the addition of local raw materials such as snail shells as well as those that are a byproduct of large industry, for instance cobalt oxide.
The map, partially printed with clay as a pigment, illustrates extensive clay deposits under Vienna and overlays them with planned construction work, in order to track the urban mining which is bound to happen in the upcoming years.
Observing how the disrupted raw materials supply chain causes shortages in the ceramic and art supplies, we propose a future in which Viennese urban clay is widely available for local arts, crafts and industries. We believe that a deeper research of the raw materials present in contemporary cities will lead to the development of improved systems for their management.
Michalina Iza Zadykowicz is a curious transdisciplinary designer fascinated by human bodies and the objects and materials surrounding them. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Industrial Design at the University of Arts in Poznań and Social Design – Arts as Urban Innovation at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. In her practice on the intersection of art and design, she tries to approach design from a broader perspective. Her interest in craft has led her to attach great value to the haptic aspect of the design process. She considers significant both the objects, and the stories surrounding them, the seemingly absurd experiments and explorations, and above all the socio-political and local context of the projects.
Sabrina Haas is a designer who creates graphics, illustrations, exhibitions and initiates interdisciplinary projects. She is interested in artistic research and critical design, currently pursuing a Master in Social Design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. After completing her Bachelors in Art&Design at Goldsmiths University London in 2017, she interned with internationally renowned design and experiental futures company Superflux in 2018. Sabrina also co-founded ZIMT, an online magazine that aims to destigmatize mental health, with a strong focus on visual communication.
Michalina and Sabrina met while studying together in Vienna. Their shared interest in soil, clay, and speculative design led them to begin their research, resulting in the "Urban Clay" project.