Victor Castanera studied industrial design at the University Elisava, but found his muse far beyond the confines of the classroom or studio space. “I started looking for natural elements to work with and found sand was one of the most interesting,” he tells Co.Design of his journey to construct the uniquely beautiful Areniscos--Español for “sandstone”--series. “And as a mediterranean citizen I recognize the beach as a very special place.”
In an effort to find the finest grains, Castanera took to Costa Daurada in the southern part of Catalonia, where he did extensive testing of both molds and processes in order to achieve the raw, but also somewhat delicate effect he was after. “I wanted the material to be ecological, and allow me to use the minimum quantity to easily remove the small pieces once I’ve finished," he says. A resin composite that dries with the properties of ceramics provided just the right balance, and the video above does a nice job of showing how satisfying, and strangely calming, it was to make these inverted castles made of sand.
The thickness and consistency of each piece depends on how many layers are poured in, so Castanera can, to some extent, control the result. And despite the fact that the exterior is completely covered, the surface is burnished so there’s no possibility of finding wayward souvenirs from the shore scattered about. Once completed, Areniscos are sturdy enough to hold anything. “But functionality is not the important thing,” he says. “This project is a critique of the system of production nowadays. Why does everything go so fast? When we are not sharing anything with our beautiful planet, we are losing the essence of being humans. I wanted to create an experience, via product design, between our environment and the human being.”