An Aesthetic Experiment

Lea Mader

März / March - 2023

Folkwang Universität der Künste Essen

Master of Arts


“Unwhite” arose from the question: Can design become more sustainable by rethinking aesthetic conventions? Porcelain is increasingly contaminated with iron. During firing, additional gas is often added to the kiln to reduce oxygen and prevent the iron from oxidising in order to ensure that the porcelain comes out of the oven pure white. The contamination is a result of the gradual exhaustion of our resources. Is that not enough of a reason to act responsibly and produce less white porcelain? Why are our socially constructed aesthetic preferences more important than our environment? “Unwhite” explores the narrative of what porcelain would look like if the massive extra energy input required to produce pure white porcelain was dispensed with. In this way, “Unwhite” is aesthetically disobedient. “Unwhite” demonstrates that there is an opportunity for change even if it is a subtle one.