SHIRASU Plaster Wall
Journey to 100% natural material
Imagine you live in an environment that is completely chemical-free and safe to put it in your mouth. It took three years for Mr. Shintome, a founder and CEO of Takachiho Shirasu Corp., to produce 100% natural wall finish material made of Shirasu, no other manufacturer managed to succeed.
Shirasu is volcanic soil created from magma, it is vastly accumulated in southern Kyushu peninsula where Mr.Shintome grew up. In old times, people used Shirasu to cleanse their garden or barn (for amulet purpose), it was very much part of his childhood. Shirasu consists mostly of silicate, thus, Mr.Shintome first thought Shirasu can substitute diatomite for wall material. But soon he realized Shirasu’s natural properties such as deodorization and air purification are quite unique and much better for the living environment than diatomite. He also realized that Shirasu does not require firing process like diatomite since it is already fired naturally by magma. This leads to energy saving and helps reduce CO2 emissions.
Although it sounds like Shirasu is a dream material by itself, its amicable relation with water led to a big application problem: how to make it stick to the foundation plaster board. The easiest solution would be to use sealer but that was not an option because it involves chemical substance. Mr. Shintome was convinced to solve this problem only with 100% natural material. First step was to mix Shirasu with plaster. He knew that once mixed with water, plaster generates needle crystal, which helps Shirasu to grab on to the foundation even vertically or upside down on a ceiling. However, there was one problem: it takes 2 hours for the plaster to develop the needle crystal. He needed to come up with “something” to hold Shirasu on the foundation meanwhile.
Many people told him to give up or persuade him that chemical is not entirely bad. But Mr. Shintome did not give in. He only aimed to attain 100% natural material and not any less. This determination led him to look into edible material instead of only building material. He imagined that the solution must be hidden in what people put in their mouth. After two years of searching he finally found out about edible cotton that is used in a soft cream machine in order to create the wavy shape. When you grind this cotton and mix with water, it becomes vegetable glue. This was the answer to his long time distress.
Shirasu is a gift from magma deep beneath the earth and its structure is too complicated to be replicated by human technology. Retaining its natural properties and using no preservation or any other chemical additives does not only better our living environment but also reduce the harm towards the mother nature. Shirasu-kabe remind us to be more awareand to harmonize with the earth in order to lead the next generations.
SHIRASU Plaster Wall is availlable at IPPIN PROJECT STORE.
Please contact us for more information about this amazing interior wall finish material !