The COFFIRE porcelain pendant light uses used coffee grounds as a coloring material to mimic the texture of marble. The eco-conscious method of staining is inspired by the ancient pit firing technique for pottery making. During the low temperature firing process, the interaction between the biodiesel and the sugar in the coffee grounds, which oxidizes to red matter, forms a random texture on the surface of the ceramics (the surface texture is influenced by many variables, such as temperature, humidity, coffee grounds density, etc).
The aim of the COFFIRE project is to develop an 'imperfect' design language, juxtaposing the the relationship between industrial standardized production and craftsmanship.
Coffee grounds ensure a safe product, compared to the traditional pit firing, which tends to use toxic metals as coloring materials. This project also replaces the traditional sand pit with a gas kiln to achieve mass production, solving the problem of the high waste rate of traditional pit firing.
Design by Zhekai Zhang.
Photo by Qi Liu
COFFIRE pendant lamps are made from high-quality porcelain clay in Jingdezhen. After firing, the body is white, bright and glossy` and feels smooth and delicate. The glaze of the lampshade is made from coffee grounds. Currently, at least 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide each year, producing at least 8 million tons of coffee grounds. Most coffee grounds are discarded, landfilled or incinerated along with other waste. There is also a part of coffee grounds that will directly enter urban sewage discharge through the sewer. The disposal of coffee grounds as waste will not only consume a lot of energy but also cause certain harm to the environment. COFFIRE follows the concept of sustainable design, exploring a new possibility for the treatment of discarded coffee grounds.
The coloring technology used to create COFFIRE pendant lamps was derived from ancient pit burning technology. During a low-temperature firing process at 700-1000°C, coffee grounds on the surface of the lamp release biodiesel and sugar. Under the influence of temperature, humidity, the coffee grounds' concentration, and other variables, the interaction between the two substances will show a random pink texture on the surface of the lamp. In addition, the traditional sandpits used in the pit burning process are replaced by gas kilns. It is easier to control gas kilns in terms of operation and achieving mass production. Gas kilns can also be controlled at a constant temperature, so the color of the fired lamp is more stable. Since there are no trace elements in a gas kiln, the color saturation of the fired lamp is higher.