Porcelain vs Lava Lights by gt2P
by Harry / June 6, 2014
Using their Catenary Pottery Printer, and by combining porcelain and lava, Chilean designers gt2P have created a series of unique LED wall lights and chandeliers.

Details: The number of porcelain layers, translucency, reinforcement of the porcelain components with lava and the baking temperature determines the final shape for each "printed" component.

(Click the images below for full sized images)


gt2P explains:

Casting over the fabric determines the exterior shape, and so, the number of times this process is done determines the thickness of the pieces. The levels of translucency of porcelain can be controlled with the number of layers that are added and filled curves, which can be seen when the piece is enlightened.


These lights include an anchor point for each porcelain piece, so it was necessary to strengthen the area. The incorporation of a different material has to be made in order to reinforce the hanging zone and keep the translucency of the porcelain without augmenting the thickness of the piece. Also, it was needed to generate a shadow or contrast that would integrate the anchor point to the visual expression of the piece.


At the same time we work on Less CPP, we were making tests with Chilean volcanic lava (there are 2900 volcanos in Chile, 80 actives and 42 with high erupting probabilities), specifically of the Chaiten and Villarrica Volcanos (lightweight and porous black stone, Andesitas Basalticas), with the goal of controlling the temperature parameters that enable a viscous state of the lava (Paracrafting).


Although there is a theoretical framework of this matter, it was not enough until performing several experiments, finding at least three methods and their respective temperatures to melt the lava and to test how it works with other high temperature materials. One of our tests was using a closed oven for porcelain at 1300°C. Theoretically, this volcanic stones should start to melt at 800°C, but the stones that we collected from Chaiten and Villarrica volcanoes starts to melt at 1260°C, achieving a workable viscosity (controllable) at 1300°C, which coincides with the baking temperature of the porcelain.


After these findings we asked ourselves what would occur if we put together a porcelain biscuit and lava into the oven. We supposed that porcelain would remain solid at that temperature and lava would turn viscous. The result was that lava drains slowly over solid piece of porcelain, where the shape, gravity and temperature permit (almost like a candy). Finally, thanks to the slow cooling process, the lava contracts gradually without breaking the porcelain but holds it completely, achieving a collaborative material with zones of greater mechanical resistance within the piece. This last method generates a perfect fit for the development of luminaries made by CPP system, that allow us to generate very slim and reinforced pieces, establishing a contrast between opacity in the hanging points and translucency over the edges where the light comes through.


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