We tend to see eggshells as fragile, but they’re stronger than we think.
Nature Squared, an ethical design studio founded in 2001, has developed a beautiful wall tile made from discarded eggshells collected from bakeries and kitchens on the island of Cebu in the Philippines. It’s the latest project for the Swiss studio, which focuses on transforming natural-waste materials—including abalone shells and feathers—into surfaces used in yachts, homes, and hotels. The company’s broader goal is to divert more waste from landfills and, in doing so, make the highly polluting construction industry more sustainable.
These eggshell tiles, which are called CArrelé (a portmanteau of the French word for square and the periodic symbol for calcium), are the first project from Nature Squared’s new chief innovator, Elaine Yan Ling Ng, who joined the company in 2020. Eggshells are frequently used in medicine to strengthen bones and in dentistry to strengthen teeth, but they also have applications for home design. In addition to being strong and stable, they’re naturally resistant to UV rays. And as anyone who has painted Easter eggs knows, shells are good at absorbing dyes. “They absorb natural colors sustainably in fascinating ways,” Ng says. “We use natural dyes, such as indigo, madder, and chlorophyllin.”