BENTU went deep into the daily-use ceramics industry in Chaozhou, China, and tried to reveal the disintegration of culture behind this ancient city with huge commercial value and industrial capacity.

Chaozhou supplies 70% of the total global daily-use ceramic commodity, becoming the world’s largest production base of everyday ceramics. Under the sweeping wave of globalisation, ceramic industry connects Chaozhou with the rest of the world in an unprecedented way.

When the unstoppable process of modernisation breaks down the traditional social order, the neat old towns rapidly disappear, as well as the traditional rural culture rooted in its kinship. But rapid development has begun here with more than that. With continuous globalisation, the traditional ceramic industry is abnormally expanding. As demand stimulates enormous production, ceramic enterprises are springing up, employing a large number of local workers and attracting plenty of rural migrants as labour. On the other hand, the ceramic enterprises keep repeating the traditional production model with a high rate of waste.

The traditional concept of ceramic recycling means smashing the waste and putting it back into the raw materials for porcelain production. Limited by the viscosity pottery clay requires, not much of the porcelain waste powder can be utilised again. In the Wreck Experiment, BENTU managed to carry out a different attempt: change the way porcelain aggregate is deposited to improve the production speed and the utilisation of porcelain wastes.

As an essential part of the experiment, BENTU teamed up with Shenzhen Design Week to curate the exhibition. The site consisted of experimental furniture pieces and a 7-meter-long artistic installation stacked with ceramic waste collected from Chaozhou ceramic factories. Through the use of video as an intro to the show, the audience was exposed to a direct view of the world’s largest ceramic industry base as well as the wrecked culture and behaviour behind its tremendous capacity and commercial value.


See other projects that use recycled materials on Yellowtrace here.



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[Images & video courtesy of Bentu Design.]


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