Lonny van Ryswyck took to the Design Indaba stage to discuss a diminishing resource: sand

What happens when the world runs out of sand?

Lonny van Ryswyck

One half of the duo that lead the Netherlands’ Atelier NL design studio, designer Lonny van Ryswyck has long seen things a little differently. Though she was advised by a teacher while a student at Design Academy Eindhoven to ‘forget about the world for a while’, van Ryswyck went on to do the exact opposite and has made the hidden narratives of the earth her business. 

At Atelier NL, van Ryswyck – alongside partner Nadine Sterk – explores the earth’s raw materials in an effort to demonstrate how they can be used to create products of value. The latest resource to claim the designer’s attention is sand, a seldom addressed diminishing resource, in a project called A World of Sand. 

A remarkable project that sees the designer collecting sand from across the world, van Ryswyck brought the very special initiative to the Design Indaba 2018 stage. Aside from revealing her extraordinary research, she was also responsible for creating this year’s speaker gifts.

A stunning glass item made from sand that she collected from the Western Cape’s desperately depleted Theewaterskloof dam, it is a gift that highlights both her focus on sand as a raw material and Cape Town’s dire water crisis.