Inspired by the natural process that forms stalagmites and stalactites, Dutch designers Laura Lynn Jansen and Thomas Vailly have created a collection of tableware by "growing" stone over a structural skeleton.

The pieces are individually crafted by placing a nylon 3D-printed skeleton into specially chosen thermo-mineral springs.

Inside the spring, a natural geological process transforms the skeleton, depositing calcium carbonate (otherwise known as CaCO3, limestone or calc) onto the structure to reinforce and thicken it.

The result is a product with characteristics similar to terracotta or porcelain.

Jansen and Vailly worked with scientists, geologists and craftsmen to find thermo-mineral springs in the Auvergne mountains in France, where a high concentration of CO2 and minerals speeds up the process considerably.

While the duo designs shapes that they think will produce the best quality of the material, ultimately the shape, textures and colours of the tableware are determined by nature.

The CaCO3 tableware collection was presented as part of the Dutch Invertuals exhibition during the 2014 Milan Design Week.

Stoneware before petrification

Stoneware petrified for 45 days

Stoneware petrified for 92 days

Courtesy Dezeen