— grains of sand

Atelier NL's ZandBank is an extensive library of varying sands collected from dunes, beaches, rivers, mountains, and quarries across Western Europe. These sands are both visually beautiful and geologically revealing — just as the earth's composition varies, so do the sands that develop in a particular place. By organizing and studying this material from both a scientific and design perspective, Atelier NL has uncovered an intriguing pallet of colour and texture unique to the world of sand, revealing scientific data in combination with geological narratives that speak to each unique sand's development over time.

Currently, the glass industry exclusively uses "pure" white sands found in only a few quarries worldwide. This is because "wild" sands are deemed impure and inefficient as they require a higher level of skill and knowledge to effectively be transformed into glass. To challenge these conventions, Atelier NL began researching the geological history and chemical composition of sand. The designers followed the path of ancient Roman glass merchants, taking samples of eighty types of sand. With this diverse array of samples, they conducted over a thousand glass tests and experimented with how the material reacts to different levels of heat: when melted at high temperatures, natural sands fracture, foam, and crystallize according to their unique mineral signature. This research culminated in the creation of Atelier NL's first material archive — a glass library that displays varying colours, textures, and crystallization patterns.