Scalite is a new material from company Scale that is made entirely of fish scales, a byproduct of the fishing industry. Based in France, Scale is creating a new circular economy around the fishing industry that goes beyond plastic nets.
Scalite has stone-like properties, making it a great option to replace ceramic tile. They have an attractive textured appearance and come in any color such as magenta, aqua blue or sand.
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Founder Erik de Laurens invented Scalite in response to several factories shutting down in the French Basque Region, threatening industry knowledge on how to create traditional tiles. Scalite was the result of experimenting with product design attempting to create goggles, beakers and other items while de Laurens was completing his master’s degree in product design at the Royal College of Art in London.
Laurens shared his project with his cousin Edouard de Dreuzy, which led to cofounding the company Scale with a commitment to producing ocean-friendly materials. Fish scales from salmon, sardines and other fish species are composed of two types of materials, one mineral and another organic. Collagen is extracted from the organic materials during the manufacturing of Scalite and acts as a biopolymeric binder when remixed with the mineral portion of the material. When mixed, these elements create the basis of this stone-like material that is pressed into sheets.
What is unique about Scalite is that unlike most other materials made of natural materials (such as bioplastics, natural cement) no other additives or binders are needed. This makes the final product VOC free and 100% made of fish scales. You can use this material for wall coverings, furniture and home accessories, such as hooks and pedestals. Natural dyes are used to create the six current color offerings.
Lastly, you can cut Scalite with traditional circular or table saws or CNC machines. It can be bonded directly onto cement board or plywood. A surface coating is needed to protect these materials from water, so it might be better used as a kitchen backsplash or wall tile outside of bathtubs in areas where a homeowner or building tenant wants the tiles to be low maintenance.
Images via Scale, David Duchon-Doris and Lisa Ochsenbein