Swedish designer Jesper Eriksson has created an installation consisting of flooring, furniture and other objects made from solid coal. ‘Coal: Post-Fuel’ explores an idealized future where coal works as an interior design material, as opposed to its current status as one of the four main fossil fuels.
In its natural state, coal is a solid, carbon-rich material, constituting humankind’s main source of energy. But in addition to generating energy, coal plants spew out mammoth amounts of carbon dioxide—one of the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. It’s this pressing issue that Eriksson aims to scrutinize through his new body of work.“Problematic, glorious, scandalous, essential—coal has many facets,” says the London-based designer in an artist statement. “It has sustained communities and enabled technological progress, all the while polluting and harming [the] health of those who work it.” ‘Coal: Post-Fuel’ considers whether this cheap and contentious fossil fuel has a more complex significance and whether it has an alternative future as a desirable material instead. Some pieces in the collection are left in the material’s raw state, and others are processed into a finish that is similar to black marble. “From a material known for releasing CO2 to one enclosing it”, says Eriksson, the material’s aesthetic changes. With this, he continues, “A debate opens up about our relationship to this utilitarian substance”.