The Copper Project – History

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Initiated by Karaat magazine, in 2014 I have started a research on copper. This resulted in  a series of etched copper plates that depict the history of copper. The research consists of two main topics; the role of copper in our history and the production, or extraction of copper.

Copper as a material applied in design, has become a fashionable material in recent years. Copper products have been added to many collections of design brands, in many cases for commercial purposes. In my opinion,  copper has become a one-dimensional material, that is often applied as a skin that sells the product. However, there is much more to say about this intriguing material than that it is simple beautiful. With having designed products in copper, this was all the more reason to start a research on this actual topic.

Copper is not only applied in product design, but the material is first and maybe foremost a technical material that has been crucial for the development of the technology of our civilisation, going from the first metal tools, to the printed circuit boards that form the heart of our computers and smartphones nowadays. To depict the importance of copper in our history, 8 iconic objects have been selected that played important roles in the technical development that have influenced our society. These icons have been etched into copper plates that can be used to print on paper, referring back to the publication of the magazine. This series of iconic objects form the core of the copper issue of Karaat magazine. The prints are accompanied by explanations and other stories on the same topic.

The second and ongoing part of the research is about the mining of the ore and extraction of copper. The world’s hunger for copper is becoming bigger and bigger. The use of copper is not without consequences. Huge amounts of ore have to be taken from the earth’s crust to supply enough copper for our industries. And maybe without knowing, we all contribute to this when making a phone call, driving a car or simply switching on the light. The mines that are the source of the ore, are highly intriguing. Their immense scale, carved out patterns and the colours of the ore and rocks,  are often very beautiful. However, at the same time these mines are scars in the landscape, caused by huge machines and explosives.

In the second part of this project, the extraction if copper will result in tangible object or prints and will form the final result of this project.

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Arrow reflection - Copper Project - David Derksen Design

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January 11, 2015