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Henry Wein

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We are running out of sand. 

Isn’t sand literally everywhere? I hear you ask. 

Well yes, but there are differences in sand. For example not every type of sand can be used for industrial purposes. 

Sand is the second most used resource on earth. It is all around us, from concrete to toothpaste to computer chips. We use so much that our yearly consumption is more than enough to cover the entire United Kingdom. 

A concept for a playful interaction that aims to inform the younger generations about the resource sand.

Beaches and islands are disappearing, natural habitats are being destroyed and species are dying out as a result of unregulated sand extraction. Due to high demand, organised crime is taking over the business resulting in bribery, child labour and murder. All for the mere sand in your child’s bucket!  

This is a serious problem that is not getting the attention it needs. We have to rethink the way we are using sand and start to treat it as a precious commodity. 

I believe we can do this through first understanding the issue. My aim is to start here, with the next generation.  


I want to make the topic accessible for children. I therefore chose playgrounds as the location for  the intervention. It is a concept for a supervised pop-up event that combines info graphics with a hands on exploration of how sand is created and what it is being used for in the industry.

The goal is to have a playful approach that would not only teach about the problem, but also create a fascination for sand.

The billboard tells a visual narrative about sand extraction and its consequences. You are able to compare the different types of sand grains under a magnifying glass and the objects show how sand is eroded by wind and water. The challenge is to tell the difference between them. A model of a scaled up sand grain helps to do so.

The size of the containers stand for the availability of that type of sand. The quantity represents how much we use and the objects show what it can be used for. 


Parents should ideally be joining their kids to help them understand the context and maybe gain new insights themselves. There is a QR-code that provides links from my research for further information.

As a pop-up event it can travel to many different places. It does not only work at playgrounds, but could be set up in schools or a city center.

Click here for more information

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