DESIGN: Lea Mader



make me! 2023


The project is based on the thesis of aesthetic disobedience by the design philosopher Mara Recklies. Unwhite arose from the question: can design become more sustainable by rethinking aesthetic norms? Kaolin, the main component of porcelain, is increasingly contaminated with iron. During firing, additional gas is therefore often injected into the kiln to reduce the oxygen and thus prevent the iron from oxidising. Just so that the porcelain is bright white and not minimally less white, or different white. The impurity in kaolin only exists because we are slowly depleting the resource of completely pure kaolin. So why not also take responsibility and produce less white porcelain? Are our socially constructed aesthetic preferences really more important than our environment at this point? Unwhite sets up the narrative of what porcelain would look like if we saved on the massive extra energy required to produce pure white porcelain. In this way, Unwhite is aesthetically disobedient. 

Unwhite, design: Lea Mader / ph. Leif-Erik Schmidt

Unwhite, design: Lea Mader / ph. Leif-Erik Schmidt

Unwhite, design: Lea Mader / ph. Leif-Erik Schmidt


A graduated from Münster University of Applied Sciences (MSD) in February 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in product design. Since the design education in Münster is interdisciplinary, she has also gained experience in a range of design fields such as photography, graphic design and exhibitions and has been able to experiment with a variety of materials and techniques. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in industrial design at the Folkwang University of the Arts.