RUSTILES | Materials Hub
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Ariane Prin

In 2013 product designer Ariane Prin developed her first homeware collection called Rust, officially launching it two years later during the London Design Festival where it was enthusiastically received by the design community. Rustiles is the natural evolution of the original concept behind Rust, that followed in 2017, stemming from the designer’s desire to see the unique rusty textures applied at a larger scale, in the shape of tiles, as well as from Ariane’s interest in working with interior designers and architects.

Ariane Prin is a designer that doesn’t see “sustainability” as an added feature to her work but rather as the driving force behind it. For her, every resource is valuable and design is a service that should feed back into society. Ariane grew up in the French countryside, with a natural appreciation of the value within discarded waste. She carried this mindset onto her education at design school, where necessity prompted her to reuse materials that had been discarded, in the creation of her own designs.

Rustiles, as well as her Rust collection that includes products such as vessels, trays and planters, are all handmade by her inside of her London studio. Her close contact with the making process is no doubt at the heart of her innovation with materials as well.

Ariane developed the Rust technique she applies on the tiles, while examining the powdery waste from local key-making shops in London. She immediately thought that there must be some potential to all this metal dust that is produced every day. However she quickly learned that the blend of metals such as steel, copper, and brass didn’t recycle well at all. But the very same mix oxidized quickly–leaving behind a pleasant, rusted, aged quality, and it worked perfectly as a pigment when blended into a gypsum-based material. There was a clear discovery here for Ariane–how a substance that is bad for one business can feed into another and benefit it.

From being a non-recyclable waste, this metal powder has been re-appropriated by Ariane into a core component of a new material that is transformed into aged, artisanal design products as well as manufactured tiles. No two Rustiles are the same: each is made by hand and the metal dust oxidation gives a unique texture, varying in colour and intensity. The tiles are also coated to reduce further oxidization. However, they may change slowly over time, reacting and adjusting to its surroundings making each wall clad in Rustiles unique to the space they are in.

Handcrafted in Britain, Rustiles are strong and durable, much like ceramic, and are offered in nine shades of colours in two different tile sizes- a small tile (21.5 x 6.5 x 1.2 cm) and a large tile (43.5 x 20.5 x 1.5 cm).

Ariane’s work has been exhibited internationally since 2004, including Mint Gallery and Heal’s in London, Centre Pompidou-Metz and S.Bensimon Gallery in Paris, 5Vie district in Milan, A/D/O in Brooklyn and The Future Perfect in San Francisco and New York.

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