Henna Burney: “Salt is the Material of the Future”

Day 10 of The Dezeen 15 Festival featured material designer Henna Burney. Her manifesto explained the ‘extraordinary potential’ of salt as a material for the future.

Credit: Dezeen

Henna Burney specialises in developing new types of biomaterials out of the design and research laboratory, Atelier Luma. An organisation based in the South of France that explores material potential through innovative and sustainable projects.

Burney’s live video interview highlighted the potential of salt in our future. A material Atelier Luma is currently exploring due to its natural abundance. “Salt is a material of the future: an essential life-supporting mineral, ancient in its uses and abundant as a resource,” Burney states. But designers are overlooking its capability.

As part of her manifesto, Burney showcased cladding panels she and fellow designer, Kalijn Sibbel developed. “The wall of salt is a way to prove that it is possible to design with salt and it is possible to take it from its usual applications,” Burney told Dezeen. The cladding panel are made using a custom metal mesh frame that is then submerged underwater in salt marshes. This enables the salt crystals to grow all over its surface. This process takes approximately two weeks and requires only the energy from the wind and sun. Once complete, a glass-like material result, which Atelier Luma are proving can be used in public buildings.

Gaining Certification

Because salt isn’t a common material used in public buildings, Atelier Luma required Scientific and Technical Centre for Building (CSTB) certification to use the materials panels inside Gehry’s tower. A strength and durability test were additionally required to ensure its performance. “This process was an excellent example to prove how the certification organisations are able to adapt their limits in order to accept new and natural materials,” Burney said. Crystallised salt is now certified for use.

Atelier Luma is also exploring the potential of sunflower waste and clay as useable materials for our future.

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