Dust is a menace in India, one that several people live with for lack of no awareness or choice but also inhaling sickness and disease unbeknownst to them. The construction and quarrying industries are the largest generators of dust, and only 10 to 15% of it finds use as road fillers or in excavation sites. The rest is discarded loosely on roads and near waterbodies which in-turn contaminates groundwater levels and causes respiratory problems among others ailments, especially in marginalised pockets.
This story is about young Architect Parshva Shah, who used his love for creation by upcycling waste stone dust and turning it into home décor. Artemis Cast Stone by Parshva Shah makes wealth from absolute waste by collecting stone dust and waste from quarries and fields to make an array of functional objects that hope to eradicate the dirt and fill your spaces with mother earth.
Artemis was born after Parshva Shah, a student of the School of Building Sciences and Technology (CEPT), Ahmedabad, wrote a thesis on building bricks from stone dust and quarry waste. Passionate about this cause, he joined Venture Studio- an incubation centre, that allowed him to align his young mind with the possibilities that lay in the commercial market. A chance internship at a sustainable foundation sparked in him the need to utilise the waste dust and put it back into the system. Artemis saves all the loose dust to make plots, planters, facades and a plethora of cool stone items that save more rocks from being quarried with less cement consumption, and people from waste dust.
Artemis Cast Stone: The dust makes its way to Artemis from several different places in Gujarat after which it is converted to a specific kind of concrete. The composition is thinner than general concrete given its ingredients of Drangadhra sandstone dust, a local type of sand, cement, glass fibre and a few additional mixtures. The density of the material lies between 1,700 to 1,800 KGS/meter per cube and weighs lesser than conventional stone with more workability and less material wastage.
The idea is first to conceptualise the form and then develop and approve of the sample after which the final patterns, tooling and development of the masterpiece and molds is done. Artemis Cast stone comes in eight oxidised shades and two textures. It has a five to seven per cent absorption rate which can be reduced in special applications with the help of specialised coatings.
The clientele at Artemis are given the freedom to choose their design from a vast catalogue, a learning process for the 17-member team who get a peek into the business of customisation and varying styles. Their masterpieces are sculpted from clay or wood, fibre glass or rubber followed by which the caststone mix is poured into these molds to obtain the final form. An extra few days of curing and processing are involved before the product can be dispatched.
The products are light, involve low maintenance, are reasonable and are better in flexural and sheer properties as compared to ceramic or clay.
Artemis Cast Stone has successfully converted 30,000KG of stone dust into earthy, cool décor that finds itself in homes across India. The best part though is Parshva’s attempt to maintain and preserve ecological balance by breaking mountains. They succeed at this by not limiting Artemis to a design-intrinsic company but one that bridges the gap between designers, the clientele, and mother nature.