Arenophile means a ‘sand lover’. It is someone who collects and studies sand from around the world. Some collectors trade sand samples with fellow arenophiles, while some take sand from rivers and mineral deposits if they meet the criteria according to diameter and physical properties, ensuring that the samples meet proper sand definition.
This year, the term arenophile took on a different meaning as the title of the London-based product designer, Rezzan Hasoglu’s entry for the Lexus Design Awards. Shortlisted as one of the six finalists, the Royal College of Art graduate proposed the use of desert sand to create a new composite material that could be further used in making products of various nature. Her work was a result of extensive research on finding a sustainable resource, the conclusion of which lay in the vast volumes of desert sand, found in abundance across the earth, with very little known use.
Hasoglu’s design approach has always been very hands-on, all the while making use of digital tools. Focused on research and experimentation inspired from natural phenomena, she has sought ways of translating cultural nuances into tangible objects through exploring processes and materials. Arenophile, therefore, comes as no surprise, wherein she uses naturally abundant sand to fuse with other materials and develop a new composite.
Working from her studio in London, where the sand was not easily available, Hasoglu shared that she actually purchased a lot online to be shipped to her. The irony of it was the fact that to create a sustainable material, raw ingredients were being displaced across hundreds of miles. At the presentation, she laughed to add that to gain some, we had to sacrifice some.
Of the many experiments and explorations, the most successful trial was the fusion with glass and ceramic. Therefore, she chose to build on products made with fusing the sand with glass tiles – experimenting with various ratios and proportions of sand and glass. The resultant, a series of glass tiles - an object that is commonly used, regularly required and expectedly inexpensive, and also one that demonstrates greater strength and durability.
Read more about the Lexus Design Award 2019 at the Milan Design Week and its other finalists: