Skip to content


28 Jul – 3 Aug 2024
Spring: Domestic Economy

Annemarie Piscaer (NL)

Sign up

Lab Air addresses aerial issues and explores the systematic impacts of our daily choices. Questions such as "Where does material come from?" and "How far did it travel?" are central to this exploration, along with considerations of air-pollution emissions.

The workshop "Un-mining" is premised on understanding material traces and speculating on the mining of raw materials and their ownership. This hands-on, research-based workshop focuses on the raw materials used in porcelain production—specifically Kaolin, Quartz, and Feldspar. These materials, primarily Kaolin, are still mined in quarries near Schloss Hubertusburg by Amberger Kaolinwerke. How does this mining occur? Participants will delve into the origins of these raw materials, tracing their journey across time, location, and scale.

The workshop also invites participants to explore the rich history of porcelain. Originally from China, the first European porcelain was invented by Böttger in the early 18th century at the behest of Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony, King of Poland, and founder of the Meissen porcelain factory, who had an obsession with this "white gold."

Currently, mining leaves significant scars in the landscape, creating large empty pits both locally and globally. As Kaolin is a scarce material, this raises critical questions about our management of planetary resource exhaustion. Are there future alternatives? To whom or what does this scarce material belong? Can we heal these wounds in the landscape? Can we literally "un-mine"?

The workshop is ideal for current design students, recent graduates looking to enhance their material and mapping design skills, and those preparing for Master's-level study. It also welcomes professionals in the material-research field who wish to deepen their research through artistic and speculative approaches.

Annemarie Piscaer

Annemarie Piscaer (NL) has a fascination with dust and small particles in the air. This air pollution can be considered material evidence of daily choices, such as soot from a car exhaust. In her practice, she questions the systematics behind daily choices by using the materiality of things. Craftsmanship and materials are means to unravel these systems. Annemarie founded Studio Dust, a research-by-design studio with the principle that everything has value, even dust: from dust to dust. She is also the co-founder, with Iris de Kievith, of Lab AIR, a design collective addressing aerial issues. Smogware — ceramic tableware colored with air pollution — was their first project.

She completed a BA degree at the Design Academy Eindhoven and a Master’s in Education in Arts at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. Currently, she is a researcher at the Caradt professorship and tutors at St. Joost School of Art & Design, Avans Creative Innovation.


Annemarie Piscaer

The tableware is created in 5 colors, depending of the amount of dust that is used in the glaze. Over ten years a citizen of Rotterdam breathes in about one gram of particulate matter. This is the amount that is used to glaze one coffee cup or plate. The same is done with the amounts of dust that a person breathes in 25, 45, 65 or 85 years. The city where the dust was collected and its quantity is marked on each piece. RTM 45’ stands for 45 years of breathing in Rotterdam.Smogware, photo: Roel van Tour

For this vanitas the fine dust footprint’ is calculated together with DCMR of daily choices on our plate. The outcomes equals the amount of air pollution that a person breaths in 10 years in Rotterdam, 1 gram. It is the same amount of air pollution from a car that one person in Rotterdam is driving on an average base in only 5 days. The dust that we breath also comes for example from air pollution produced by shipping our products world wide. This 1 gram is the same emission as transporting 7 items (with the size of a tea cup) by a container ship from China to Rotterdam. Smogware, photo: Roel van Tour

Smogware, photo: Roel van Tour

The Smogware tableware set is made from porcelain. As Smogware questions the systematics behind our choices, they investigated the logistic traces of one espresso cup. Where does the raw material come from? How far did this material have to travel? And what are the emissions of this? What is the footprint of one cup? After research by design, it turned out that the porcelain consists of a mix of kaolin from quarries from all over the world ‑after all the manufacturer aims to offer a stable product. It comes from quarries as far as New Zealand and Thailand. It is shipped to Rotterdam via transshipment stations and mixing platforms with enormous container ships. Smogware, photo: Roel van Tour

Smogware, photo: Roel van Tour

Smogware, photo: Roel van Tour

Smogware, photo: Roel van Tour