Plastic Stone Tiles

Materials master Enis Akiev has taken surface experimentation to another level. For the past few years she has taken inspiration from an eclectic selection of substances. A project at Hong Kong Polytechnic University led to the exploration of a cellulose creation from kombucha bacteria utilising black tea and various sugar solutions and heat treatment to develop skin-like materials that can be dyed with fruit juice.

bacterial cellulose enis askiev
Pink Foam Textures enis askiev
Pink Foam Textures

Other textured surfaces have been investigated, including the use of foams to create natural-look geomorphic-style relief and coloured, tactile concrete, Most excitingly is her development of products from waste materials. To create the items within Waste Nature, discarded plastics are collected and heated to form a malleable ball that is then kneaded to produce a marbled effect. This mass is then formed and placed under pressure to cool. After it becomes solid it is processed further, enabling a range of unique, coloured surface materials.

Waste Nature enis askiev
Waste Nature
Waste Nature enis askiev
Waste Nature enis askiev

Single-use plastics were also the source of inspiration for Akiev’s Plastic Stone Tiles which are created in a similar fashion to Waste Nature. Heat and pressure are applied to cleaned waste plastics which have been sorted into colour and plastic type. The resulting tiles have a variety of appearances, some very close to naturally formed rocks and others with the melting and blending of colours similar to a painter’s palette.

Plastic Stone Tiles enis askiev
Plastic Stone Tiles

Uniquely, no additional binder or colouring agent is used within the designs and they come purely from the plastics selected and the process used. This continued experimentation with materials is vital, with environmental degredation, resource depletion, and a seemingly unstoppable accumulation of waste becoming key global issues. As Akiev notes, disposable and single-use products are essentially valueless and are simply thrown away, but in reality “there is no away”.

Plastic Stone Tiles

Enis Akiev

A new post by Hanna Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, April 2020.

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