The Crackle Collection by Kohler WasteLAB is a collection of tiles that are made from Kohler’s unfired pottery, transforming a waste product into a useful one.
“This collaboration between Kohler and Ann Sacks was satisfying on so many levels,” says DeeDee Gundberg, director of product development and design at Ann Sacks. “Working in this industry for over two decades, I know it is rare to be able to produce an almost 100 percent recycled body and even rarer to find a glaze that incorporates recyclable materials within its composition.”
Handcrafted in the WasteLAB located in the Kohler, Wis. enamel factory, the bespoke collection is one of the initiatives that came out of the Kohler Innovation for Good program, an effort that seeks inventive solutions to recycle its factory waste.
“We started looking seriously at the materials and found that it was primarily ceramic in composition,” says Theresa Millard, product manager for Sustainability and Stewardship. “With our research, we were able to identify the real potential of creating a tile from the landfill-bound pottery materials.”
Inspired by her studies in natural sustainability, Millard presented her research ideas around repurposing pottery cull and factory sand and dust to company leadership. “After a lot of collective efforts by the team and through some stringent testing to ensure durability and adaptability, we came up with a recycled tile clay body that translated into a beautiful and ecologically thoughtful tile,” she says.
Crackle tiles are made using a multi-step process, the company syas. After the clay is pressed, WasteLAB artisans hand-cut each tile removing any excess clay around the edges. Workers then apply an interactive glaze, which has a unique composition designed to pool and break over the textured surface during firing.
“A resulting delicate crackle occurs after the firing that carries across the tile face adding to the dimensional quality and artful visual effect,” the company says. “Featuring a chic palette that resonates in deep, rich color, The Crackle Collection is currently offered in shades of Mahogany, Amber, Emerald, Bone, Turquoise, and Lake.”
Crackle Collection tiles are available in various sizes: 4 by 4 inches, 4 by 8 inches, 3 by 12 inches, 6 by 6 inches, and 6 by 12 inches. A 5-inch hexagon tile is also available. The tiles are perfect for any vertical dry interior installations, but they are not recommended for exposed wet areas, as it will affect the crackled surface glaze.