#5 Blog | Noah Burson
Studio Furthermore out of London has developed a way to imitate a ceramic foam. The way they achieve this is by using Parian clay, a variant of bisque porcelain, and then injecting open celled foam into the clay to see how the clay will form. After being fired the foam is burned away which leaves a very light structure in a foam shape.
It is admitted by an article by Materia that the material formed by this process is not practical to use for dishes. The holes on the inside of the material would be impossible to clean out. However, it is otherwise described as hard, warm, and stone-like. It resembles a meteorite but it is practically weightless.
After reading this description I couldn’t help but think about this materials ability to be an insulator. It’s lightweight would cut down on the load that a building would have to bare. The way that it may compete conventional insulation is its structural qualities as a ceramic material. Foam insulation has no integration into any of the surfaces that are interacted with by people because of fiberglass particle and possible off gassing. With a smooth ceramic surface that creates an interesting aesthetic quality, it may be worth exploration to see how this kind of form could transcend the cavity between two walls.
If the insulation quality is high as I suspect, having the insulation material visible to occupants would open up new design opportunities. The architect has the ability to show an abstract material as the insulation and wall; they can be honest about what method is being used to insulate the structure by integrating it into the aesthetic design.
Beyond insulation, how else could this material be integrated as a building material? There are examples of ceramic foam with tiny air pockets being used for thermal and acoustic insulation as well as absorbing pollutants. If the design the Studio Furthermore has this potential, it could bring to market a material that not only can have these qualities but also is aesthetically very interesting and intriguing.