Architecture Interiors

Let’s Get Plastered, Part 1

Japanese Lime Wall Covering

Let’s get plastered, nope I’m not talking about alcohol but refer to the type that can be used to adorn our walls and ceilings.  How many of you, like myself, have spent many hours walking around DIY stores looking at paint samples and buying numerous amounts of testers. However, what else is there available to create your ideal working or living space?  

Many of us want to create sustainable environments, which reconnect us with nature and promote our health and wellbeing, there is a  growing demand (a movement) for healthier materials in interior spaces.  Shikkui, a Japanese plaster wall and ceiling covering is one option, which  has been used in Japan for centuries.  This ornate type of wall and ceiling covering is not the same as the wall covering that probably lays beneath your painted or wallpapered walls. So, what is Shikkui plaster?

Shikku Plaster

 A natural plaster comprising lime, seaweed and soyabean oil.  Some types of Shikkui plaster may contain additional natural mineral products, unique only to Japan. This is what makes this wall and ceiling covering so ornate and different to other types of materials available on the market.  In addition to the materials listed above, some Shikkui plaster may contain egg shells.  If you are a vegan, be sure to select a Shikkui plaster which contains none.  

Shikkui plaster contains no unwanted toxic chemicals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or man-made substances.  It can contain hemp, a natural and healthy material, which is added to the plaster to make it more pliable.  Shikkui plaster is considered to have a positive lifecycle, from extraction of its raw materials out of the ground/sea to its end of life.  

This product is currently only made in Japan therefore, there is an environmental cost to transporting it for use outside of japan.  However, the longevity and positive effects that this material can have on our internal and external environments is likely to offer a benefit that out-weighs environmental impacts of transport. 

Shikkui plaster can absorb carbon dioxide.  It has a high alkalinity content, due to what it is made of, which  can help with the prevention of bacteria and mould forming on your walls and ceilings.  This unique material can also help to regulate a rooms humidity. The plaster is also third-party credited by Cradle 2 Cradle, a certification, recognised globally which assesses a products level of sustainability in regards to the Circular Economy.

Image provided by Getty Images

So, what can it add to the overall design of a space?  Shikkui plaster is available in a number of different colours and its texture can be altered to suit any specific design requirements.  As cited by Shikkui Royal Japanese, this ornate plaster wall covering can ‘absorb, whilst also reflect light evenly throughout a space’, helping to create that perfect ambience.  It is a great material to include in Biophilic design and is applied as a thin layer to ceilings and walls using a specific type of Japanese roll.

This great alternative wall covering can really transform spaces within your home or place of work: It is a product comprising only natural materials, with no hidden extras; a wall and ceiling covering which will promote the health and wellbeing of all those who use the space; bring some ornate traits of the Far East into your design.  Give your design some added texture by using a traditional method and contribute to the evolution of sustainable, humane and healthy design.

Image provided by Getty Images

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