Making glass from the land of gold.

"Suelo Orfebre" is a community-based project that constructs new values by transforming a waste product of gold mining into glass objects.


Lured to the Americas by tales of El Dorado, conquistadors exploited the gold mines of Colombia for centuries. Gold is still central to the identity of the community in the Marmato region. To reduce the environmental impact of mining, ‘Suelo Orfebre’ uses Jagua, a waste product currently discarded into the rivers.


Together with the community and local glass blower, Colombian designer Simon Ballen built an oven and produced glass objects in moulds built from the surroundings. The results offer a catalogue of possibilities for the social and economic benefit of the local community.




In collaboration with Pieter van Dyck. Nadia Matthynssens, James Lemus.

Project possible thanks to the community of Marmato.


Year 2018 - Graduation Project
Tutors: Andrea Trimarchi - Jeroen van de Gruiter