Recycling concrete with YKMA design
YKMA design’s first product, the OC1 loudspeaker, is made mainly out of casted recycled concrete. Ever since the classical Roman Empire, concrete has been used extensively for all kinds of purposes. Currently, it is the most used resource on earth, after water.
For every person on earth, an average of one cubic meter of concrete is produced annually. The buildings and roads that get demolished end up on landfills, or in a slightly better scenario as a sub-base for new roads. This isn’t just an enormous waste, but a loss of great properties as well.
YKMA believes in reusing this timeless material to its full potential: as a highly functional enclosure for the OC1 loudspeaker.
It might seem counterintuitive, but concrete is the ideal material for loudspeakers because the material’s stiffness and mass (the speakers weigh 33 kilograms each) minimizes distortion in the form of resonance and vibration. Due to these characteristics, only the air carries the energy of the soundwaves, which leads to extremely clear and pure acoustics.
The raw components used by YKMA are sourced from within the Netherlands, by working together with local facilities, that process demolished buildings and roads, creating a new concrete mixture which consists of 80 mass percent of these recycled components.
The concrete mixture gets hand cast into the mold, which is developed by YKMA as well. The liquid concrete forms itself to the texture from the surface of the mold. This means the concrete can be cast into a wide range of textures, from a smooth, polished finish to a rough, bubbled finish, depending on the material of the mold and the composition of the concrete.
The OC1 features different concrete texture: the main body is raw, showing the character of the material, while the bottom of the soundwave diffuser on top is cast to a mirror-like finish: to reflect the sound waves as clearly as possible. After hardening for at least 48 hours, the product can be removed from the mold.
Tough the concrete may be solidified by then, it still continues to cure and harden. After a month passes, the concrete reaches around 95% of its strength. The hardening process actually never stops: concrete only increases in strength over time, which embodies exactly one of the core values YKMA design stands for: making long-lasting products.