This is Urine

Tiles and dishes using human urine

14 May 2019

“This is urine” is a project that explores the value of urine by uncovering its potential new roles within the society. Unlike the common belief shared in modern society, urine has been widely used for many purposes in pre-industrial society, such as planting, cleansing, therapeutic medicine, whitening teeth and tanning leather.

Urine consists of over 3,000 components

Due to changes in technology and lifestyle, our perception of urine has been changed negatively. However, urine contains valuable components, such as water, ammonia, urea, minerals. There are researchers in various fields, such as Bill Gates and NASA, that are looking into human urine as a source that can be turned into drinking water or biofuel. For them human urine is a promising material for the future, as it is a readily available resource produced in vast amounts by a rapidly growing population.

“Today, over seven billion people populate our planet, which means on average around 10.5 billion litres (2.8 billion gallons) of human urine is produced and wasted each day.” (source: ‘Power from Urine: Reimaging the Future’, Government of India Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.)

image: Urine Tiles

Si Nae Kim behind this work investigates the potential of the inorganic components in urine-minerals – as an alternative resource to glaze in the ceramic industry, which normally uses metal oxide glazes that have the potential to cause metal poisoning. Her first work was presented as a ceramic collection called Urine Ware, that featured a series of vessels inspired by the shape of the human bladder and laboratory flasks. She is currently developing a range of stunning colour palettes that strongly challenge our concept of urine.

contact information

Si Nae Kim

image: Si Nae Kim, Seoul