To See A World In A Grain Of Sand is a new project by Atelier NL and they want your sand samples.
Over the past few years, Atelier NL has steadily been growing its presence at Dutch Design Week. In 2015 they ran a crowdfunding campaign to buy the old church the studio is based in, and last year presented a collaboration with chefs to cook food from the same sand that their ceramics are sourced. This year, it has been announced that they are official Dutch Design Week ambassadors, alongside architect Winy Maas of MVRDV and Dezeen founder Marcus Fairs.
The announcement of Lonny van Ryswyck and Nadine Sterk’s designation comes at the same time as the news that they are expanding their ground-based practice beyond the Netherlands with a global call for samples. Entitled To See a World in a Grain of Sand, the idea is to source “wild sand from dunes, beaches, rivers, mountains and quarries” around the world, then melt it into glass to reveal “the unique colors and textures of the world and share the origins and stories of both sand and people from all corners of the globe”.
The title of the project references William Blake’s observation that every grain of sand has a different story to tell. British geologist, Michael Welland, concurs that the project offers “powerful evocations of our often forgotten but intimate relationships with the primary materials of our planet and our lives.” The author of the award-winning Sand: A Journey Through Science and the Imagination book goes on:
“The deceptively simple act of transforming sand into glass reveals stories of the grains themselves and their dazzling diversity, stories of deep time and endless change. We rarely think of sand as a resource and its countless contributions to our lives, but this innovative project takes us on a journey that provokes contemplation of our connections not only with sand, the apparently most humble of materials but with the Earth as a whole.”
To participate, collect a 16 oz or 500ml container, take a photo of the location and make a note of the GPS coordinates on your phone, then register the sample on the website and post it to Atelier NL. A selection of the submitted samples will be melted into glass, which will be displayed in an archive exhibition at Dutch Design Week, in Eindhoven from October 21 to 29.