Some clients rightly want to know how our products are made and where possible what effects they have. There is much to be learned about this and as we develop more understanding we will write it up here. This is something that the manufacturing industries are waking up to worldwide.
It is not simple thing to work out which materials ‘are better’, and sometimes the answers that best benefit the planet are not at all what we would expect.
For the time being here are the basic facts about the materials used in our various products.
Please note that all materials and products take energy to make from varied base materials. Some natural looking materials take a lot of energy to create and do not last very long and other apparently less natural materials can take less energy to form and can last for many decades or even centuries, making them much better for the planet in the long run.
Caststone is the art construction of granite and other specially chosen rock aggregates as chips and sands, bound together throughout by cement, and then acid etched to reveal the natural rock. This gives a natural texture with the cement surface removed for the water to flow over, interacting with the granites and marbles.
Casting is done in Gloucestershire, England by colleagues at Ruskin Mill, a practical school for teenagers who help professional craftspeople involved in actual businesses and in California USA by caststone artisans of the highest calibre.
As is generally known, concrete is the binding of base aggregates such as crushed greywacke river stone with cement. A cement surface up to 2 mm deep remains, and it is over this that the water flows.
Ceramics are clays fired to become permanent and stone like, with mineral glazes adding glass-like food safe surfaces of gorgeous colorings when melted in the high temperature of kilns.
Ceramic pots are amongst the oldest human artifacts, with some still existing ceramic pieces in Asia going back 15,000 years. This is certainly no ‘planned obsolescence’ material!
Our ceramics are stoneware bowls and Flowform sculptures fired in gas kilns to 1160 degrees celcius, and are made from Mekong Delta clays. This clay is mixed, cast and fired by our highly qualified Australian Vietnamese colleagues there, Son and Nga Do.
There is a fascinating story behind this ethical family factory, which was set up by their father, a nationally renowned traditional potter, to help the local neighborhood in a poorer part of the Southern delta. The ceramic skills they have developed are quite astonishing and are a continuation of over over 4000 years of ceramic history in Vietnam.
Our composite products surfaces are made from food-safe polymer resins. This is not plastic but rather a thermoset. They can last many decades and enable light weight products in remarkable shapes that save considerable freight and installation energy, and give considerable use benefits in out of the way places.
By replacing concrete products with this material we save on energy that would otherwise expended on industrial cement production. Often folk feel that polymer products are ‘bad’ but on a complete comparative analysis they have many benefits.
The composite industry is rapidly developing fibre based polymers and are working closely with out suppliers in NZ to take advantage of this evolution.
This is our parent company’s own invention, which replaces cement with polymer as a binder for natural sands which make up 80% of the material, in the process of creating a hollow product with far less synthesized material than solid products. It is relatively lightweight, durable and strong with beautiful sandstone surfaces and will last for centuries.