Eggshell, Coffee ground


Made in

Bacteria 23 Biodegradable 233 Circular 218 Recyclable 119 Recycled 123 Regenerative 49 Coffee ground 9 Eggshell 14 Glycerine 36 Sodium alginate 14 Vinegar 15 Water 30

Eggshell, Coffee ground

Photos: Johnson Tan, Jodi Choo, Studio Silo

Shell Decay

In the past, humans interacted with materials directly, allowing materials to speak to them. 
In the present time, the machine acts as a barrier between humans and materials. Humans are simply shaping materials based on their own impression, disconnecting themselves from the material’s actualisation.

Shell Decay learns from nature's wonders, collaborating with nature in order to create a world where humans and nature co-exist.

As the industrial revolution continues to strive, machinery serves as a barrier to the relationship between humans and materials. Materials are being recognised as an impression of the maker as to how they should behave rather than the actualisation of the material. This draws humans further away from the tacit understanding of the material, resulting in misuse and mistreatment of materials. Shell Decay aims to explore decay as a process of material exploration and innovation, challenging the dominant notions of material development.

The use of materials refers to manufacturing materials, which implies the use of ‘new’ and ‘desirable’ materials. When we think of materials conventionally, we often relate to terms such as ‘assembling’ and ‘constructing’. What if we look at materials from an ecocentric standpoint? With the application of ‘cultivating’ and ‘growing’ of materials instead. ‘Decay’ is typically seen as an end-of-life material treatment, this stage would be brought to the earlier stages of processing materials, replacing the world of parts, with a circular economy.

The project utilises Singapore’s climatic environment and the abundance of food shell waste as conditions to examine the behaviour and the process of decay. Striving to replace ready-made materials, with the abundance of waste produced in Singapore, to promote the notion of optimising rather than maximising.

Additional information

David Pye discusses that we talk as though ‘good materials’ were being found instead of being made. It is only good because workmanship has made it so. Good materials’ weren't found, rather it was made into a ‘desirable material’ by someone who was able to see their potential. The same can be said for materials of waste, and it is up to our sensitivity to pick our resources and turn them into ‘desirable' materials.

Shell Decay utilises two waste materials that are generated and discarded daily, eggshells and coffee grounds. Shell Decay introduces two materials that have not interacted before, conducting research to understand how nature works with these two organic materials. Coffee grounds have primary nutrient properties needed for soil fertility, while eggshells have secondary nutrients. When combining these two materials, nature would strive and promote growth, while humans could control the rate of growth by simply adjusting the amount of material in the mixture.

Shell Decay strives towards a future where human and nature co-exist, circulating kitchen waste into nature's food.

Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.


Eggshell, coffee ground, sodium alginate, glycerine, vinegar, water



Physical samples

Accessible to visitors of the Future Materials Lab