Welcome to Scraptopia: a world where copper is molecularly reclaimed from electrical waste. Assuming the role of novice alchemist, Marlo’s experimental vessels are “grown” molecule by molecule over a period of several days in a bath that harvests scrap copper while simultaneously growing it into an entirely new form.

Soil that contains even 1% of copper ore is now valuable enough to mine. As deposits on land deplete, mining giants turn to the deep-sea, rather than explore the rich sources of copper hidden in our waste. Encouraged by the concept of Urban Mining - which assets that all required raw metals can now be recovered from waste rather than from the earth - Marlo’s material research adapts a highly industrialised technique in order to mine her own local copper waste.

The technique of electroplating is used used widely all around the world to coat a cheap metal in an aesthetic layer of precious metal. ‘Scraptopia’ elevates this technique from a superficial surface treatment into something more essential; a method with which metals can be recycled and purified. By harnessing electrical current to reclaim ions of waste copper and deposit them on a non-metalic mould, Marlo produces pure recycled copper samples and vessels that can be returned to the bath for reuse at any point. Some of the Scraptopia pieces appear to be mid way between solid and liquid, crumbling like ancient artifacts from another time. Others capture delicate details of lace, and some are reminiscent of forks and serving spoons from daily life. All the Scraptopian objects are marked by Marlo’s intuitive search for value; seeing beauty and opportunity in what the world might achieve with what it already has.

Design Academy Eindhoven Graduation 2021 - Awarded Cum Laude