One of the more understated but fascinating projects in our most recent Triennial was a project called A World of Sand which displayed a series of glass samples made from sands collected from around the world. The project was designed by Nadine Sterk and Lonny van Ryswyck of Atelier NL who also harvested sand locally in the Netherlands for their ZandGlas (Sand Glass) series of glassware which is available in the SHOP as both a carafe and a drinking glass. Their first edition was made from sand from the Zandmotor (Sand Motor) off the coast of the Netherlands, an experiment where a human-made peninsula of sand was created with the intent that waves would carry the sand to other locations across the Dutch coastline to fortify against beach erosion. The Netherlands has a well-known history of "reclaiming" land from the sea and the Zandmotor is meant to make the process less disruptive and even a little hands-off.

Their second series (pictured) is made from sand found inland, in a prehistoric forest called Savelsbos near the German border and Charlemagne's medieval capital of Aachen. Quite the contextual contrast from the terra-forming Zandmotor site! Each Zandglas piece features a distinctive seal which indicates the location the sand was harvested from.

For many of us, glass is a ubiquitous commodity that can be both decorative and useful. We think, hopefully, about it being recycled and reused but we rarely think about the raw materials of its creation. Where did the sands come from and how did natural forces change the texture and color of the sand and the resulting glass? These pieces by Atelier NL invite us to consider these natural forces and their impact on our history and material world, all while enjoying some truly beautiful glass.

Posted by Joseph

SHOP BLOG is written by the sales associates of SHOP Cooper Hewitt, bringing their singular design expertise into the digital realm.


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