I recently read an article about the possible future of textiles. Designers were predicting the living shoe and the strawberry plant that grows lace. Whilst fanciful such ideas have a slim chance of becoming reality.
That made me think about ceramics. What will be the future of our beloved ceramics in 50 years from now? Perhaps it will be self cleaning plates and lego style brick houses? Again these may seem far fetched to most but they are already possible in a small way.
The next 50 years in ceramics - my vision
My vision is based mostly on what is possible now but not necessarily in ceramics
Without doubt ceramics will be recycled in a more comprehensive and systematic way. Recycling points will be readily available in every part of the country. Ceramics will be reprocessed by barcode or other tracer systems which will allow them to be separated for more economic recycling or re-use.
Greater personalisation in Design
The changes in pottery fashion are more rapid now than at any other time. This trend is likely to continue. Changes to our dining habits, less formal dining and more casual dining, is reflected in the ceramics we buy. Ceramics are now mostly considered a disposable item and need to fit more closely with our lifestyles. This has led to a wider choice of colour and shape. For example a whole range of ware may be used for dining instead of a single dinner plate.
The future however is likely to bring us even more personalisation in design. Designs will be agreed at the point of sale or online and products will leave the factory 24 hours later. Scope for designing your own tableware is not far away now and will be common place in the future. Personalisation is already available in a small way but this will grow exponentially as technology progresses.
Lightweight strong ceramics
|Egg shell porcelain courtesy |
of Victoria and Albert museum
Imagine drinking from a paper thin highly decorated mug that is heat retaining but virtually unbreakable?
Warm self cleaning sanitaryware
In time other composite materials will emerge in household products. I can imagine a bathroom where the ceramic composites used are warm to the touch, with antibacteral surfaces that are virtually self cleaning. Water is recycled at point of use via ceramic composite filtering systems.
3D Digital printing- or how to doodle your own cup and plate!
|2d digital printing of colour|
|3d digital printing of a sugar bowl|
But what does this all mean? In essence a 3d computer design will create a 3 dimensional object via a robotic system by building a series of 2d layers. A good analogy would be building a wall brick by brick but at particle or even molecualar level.
Already there is a 3d printing pen that transfers what you draw into a 3d object in plastic. If you had a pen that would allow you to doodle a 3d object of the future what would you draw?
Eco Style Ceramic bricks and panels
|Eco house from|
Although the detail of design, decoration and processes used in brick making has changed greatly in recent years, the basic idea of shaping raw clay into rectangular blocks remains much the same. Ceramic bricks have changed little in hundreds of years. In many ways this is cost driven so will need radical changes in house construction for this concept to change.
However this is happening albeit slowly as more eco houses are being constructed (in part) off site and delivered to site for final assembly. This trend will continue. The idea of coventional bricks will change as this type of housing grows. It is not too stretching an idea to believe that strong lightweight ceramics in the form of legotype bricks or panels could be used in all future house construction.
Who knows the eco house of the future could be manufactured entirely off site and only services and fixings completed on site!
What do you think?So whilst far fetched I believe many of the above have a reasonable chance of becoming reality. What do you think of my ideas? Do you have some (better) ideas of your own? I look forward to hearing all about them.
More information and other technical articles on pottery and ceramics can be found at my website The Potters Friend.
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