If your house is filled with cheap furniture you may feel crappy about your purchases. Well, this new type of houseware is crappy, but not for the reason you may think.
Merdacotta houseware is made out of baked clay and cow excrement. Yes, that’s right—poop is the hottest new houseware ingredient. It’s quite versatile, too. It can be formed into tiles, tableware, flowerpots, and, ahem, toilet bowls.
Merdacotta is having its day in the sun thanks to some items that were on display at this year’s Salone del Mobile “design extravaganza” in Milan, the Economist reports.
“People smile and think it’s funny to talk about caca, but behind it all we are exploring interesting and philosophical ideas about man, art and nature as well as the concept of transformation,” Luca Cipelletti, an architect who helped to devise the exhibition, says.
Merdacotta was created for a simple reason: something constructive to do with the massive amount of poop a farmer’s cows were producing.
“Gianantonio Locatelli, a farmer in northern Italy, realised that his 2,500 prolific pedigree bovines were producing 30,000 litres of milk a day, as well as a staggering 100,000 kilograms of manure,” the Economist reports.
“Keen to do something productive with this noxious by-product, he invested in several state of the art digesters that could transform the excrement into fertiliser and methane gas for electricity. The next step was to extract the urea (from which plastic is produced) and dry out the remaining de-methanated concoction and use it as a raw material to make plaster, bricks and other objects.”
The idea fully blossomed when Cipelletti and Gaspare Luigi Marcona, an artist and curator, and Massimo Valsecchi, a collector, created the Museo della Merda (“The Shit Museum”).
“It was launched in May 2015 as a series of outdoor and indoor installations, with the latter presented as a cabinet of curiosities in a late medieval castle on the grounds of Mr Locatelli’s farm,” the Economist reports.
“The pieces highlight the site’s innovative and sustainable approach to agriculture, as well as faeces’ lesser-known place in history as a construction material for ancient civilisations, or indeed as an essential ingredient in many curative potions.”
While it’s fun to make poop puns and jokes, the real reason behind the Museo della Merda is to showcase crap’s potential. One of those “potentials” is the merdacotta Primordial Products series in Milan. The series features tableware, furniture, and art pieces. Each piece is unique, has a rough texture, and has a natural aesthetic.
“The imperfections are due to the straw in the dry dung product,” Cipelletti says.
“When the pieces are cooked at 1,000 degrees the straw burns up and leaves little gaps and imperfections. It’s a bit like the terracotta you used to see before the manufacturing process became so industrialised.”
Do you think you’d ever purchase poop pottery, excuse us, we mean merdacotta houseware?
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Image of terra cotta pots via Shutterstock