Coasters are typically used in our day-to-day lives to control and protect a surface from temperature changes (hot or cold). This links to coral as the primary reason for coral death is coral bleaching due to temperature changes in the ocean.

 

This piece is inspired by the affect of global warming on coral life and their ecosystem. Around the globe oceans are warming. Although the change may be considered small and insignificant from an exterior standpoint, corals are extremely sensitive to this change and a 2°C increase is enough to cause coral bleaching and so, death of coral. This is because corals feed through zooxanthallae present in their core structure. Zooxanthallae is also responsible for the coral’s color. When temperatures increase, the relationship between the coral and its zooxanthalae breaks down, discoloring occurs as the coral’s skeleton is exposed.  So, without zooxanthalae, corals starve to death.

 

It is for this reason that I have chosen to design a collection of thermocromatic (heat sensitive) coasters that form a fan coral. This laser cut structure is engraved on cork for the cork’s textural resemblance to coral. The cork has been painted with red thermocromatic paint which turns white when heat is applied to the surface to represent to the daily user what is occuring daily beneath the surface. 

 

When not in use, this artwork can be pieced together through the use of hidden magnets to form a typical healthy fan coral. Yet when needed each coaster can help the user enjoy their beverage whilst considering the pressing ocean warming issue present around the globe as the entire marine ecosystem is being either directly or indirectly impacted by the loss of these beautiful foundation (and crucial) species.