Pores in natural stone – opening for product design: permeability is pure joy

A cumbersome phrase to describe a positive attribute: coefficient of water absorption. It describes how much water can be absorbed by a certain material in a given time-span. The value depending on the type of stone is proportional to the number of pores, their size, etc.

Japanese designer Tadahito Ishibashi and his assistant Kent Ito of IDL Corporation played with the properties and developed a granite humidifier. The idea was endowed with this year’s IF-Designer prize in the product design category.

Tadahito Ishibashi: „Natural Humidifier“. Photo: IDL Corporation

„Natural Humidifier“ everything about the humidifier is simple: the concentric surface lines create a landscape of hills and valleys allowing water to permeate into the stone.

Of course humidifiers are also available with technology to turn them into a vaporizer or furnace-humidifier, respectively. In the first case, a power supply is needed, and in the second case, of course, humidifying is achieved only when the furnace is running.

The granite-humidifier, in contrast, requires mere water to put the mechanism in motion. Users should, however develop a feeling for the amount of water ideally to be infused. If the canals are filled with water, the efficiency is reduced. Of course a drip-coaster is needed under the device.
To avoid algae developing on the stone, simply brush. The efficiency is guaranteed for time immemorial by mother-nature.

Five-year old Seiyu Whang participates in New York City's first ever Uchimizu ceremony on Madison Avenue in summer 2009. Photo: © Rubenstein, photographer Martyna Borkowski / Wikimedia Commons

Tadahito Ishibashi received the product design impulse from Okiseki Company, which was looking to put stone waste from its tombstone production to good use. Japanese tombs can reach monumental dimensions.

Tadahito Ishibashi was inspired by the Japanese tradition of Uchimizu: as a countermeasure to sweltering summer heat, residential areas and property fronts are often hosed down to reduce temperature for neighbors too.
Tadahito Ishibashi wrote us: „I plan to make various modern products made in Granite.“

IDL Corporation


IF Design

Tadahito Ishibashi. Photo: IDL Corporation(25.08.2014, USA: 08.25.2014)