a temporary seating furniture that refers in its form to the geometry of a facade element

The Bruchsee is a natural oasis in Halle-Neustadt, which was formed by the mining of a limestone hill. The limestone was used in cement production. Today the lake lies in the middle of a concrete landscape, which is now mostly defined by vacancy. People have left the place, but their buildings still stand. My design is located in this field of tension between the constant change in nature and the endurance of concrete. I want to explore a different way of dealing with the material which once came from the lake.
The design language of the seating furniture is borrowed from the facade of a house standing close to the lake, which consists of triangular prisms. Two of these elements in combination result in the shape of the deck chair. In this way, a reference is made to the handling of concrete or shell limestone in the surrounding buildings. This handling contrasts with the non-weatherproof materiality of the seat – a mixture of shell limestone, clay and casein, which will crumble and disintegrate over time through use and weathering and disappear with the people.

video of Emilia’s presentation
student:Emilia Sonntag
project:(con)temporaty crust
Location of inspiration:Bruchsee/ Graebsee, Halle


Shell limestone-clay mixture
Method of manufacturing:Mould casting

Temporal aspect:

Rain washes the casein out of the material and the seat starts to crumble and eventually collapses. The process of disintegration is also accelerated again by use. However, the material is very stable and will probably take a few months to completely disintegrate.

full concept text

The history of the site is relevant to understand my design: It is located on the remains of mining in Halle-Neustadt, known today as the Bruchsee.
Because of the high lime deposit, a cement factory was built here in 1890. At that time, there was a 30-meter high lime hill in the place of today’s lake, which was ablated for cement production. Rapidly advancing industrialization drove the need for concrete for the construction industry, and with it the demand for lime as a central component of cement. When the company had to close 30 years later (1921) due to inefficiency, an 18m deep hole was left behind – it filled with water and the lake was created. A veneer factory settled on the shores of the lake, and later it became a flourishing outdoor swimming pool. In the 70’s the lake was supposed to become a recreation area, but these plans were not implemented and the lake was neglected. During this time, nature was able to take hold, which is why the lake was later declared a natural monument. Today, the lake is a green oasis in the midst of HaNeu’s gray concrete world: these supposedly opposing worlds of natural, constant renewal versus rigid, artificial immutability have their point of contact in their connection to concrete – the construction of the surrounding buildings and the lake created in the process are mutually dependent.

In the meantime, Neustadt is characterized by vacancy; the people have disappeared, but the buildings are still there. This inspired me to explore a new, temporary way of dealing with the material from the lake in my design.
Next to the lake stands one of these buildings typical of HaNeu. Its most striking feature is a concrete facade composed of triangular prisms. The geometry of the seating furniture I designed picks up on this form. However, the materiality is modified in relation to the temporary aspect: The structure consists of a mixture of (shell) lime, clay and the milk protein casein as a binder. This is washed out of the chair over time by weathering, so that the material begins to crumble and the deck chair eventually collapses. In the end, an inconspicuous pile of shell limestone remains on the shore of the lake and the cycle between the artificial structure and the natural environment of the lake closes.