The brief was presented by ex-Kingston University students- who have in 2008 formed their own studio based in Vienna-Breaded Escalope
To view their work please visit the link below:
The Brief is titled ‘Do the Limbo’. It talks about how designers are often faced with restrictions during the manufacturing process, whether its techniques, material properties or finance. Most of the production methods that exist out there in the world of design are way too time consuming or financially unaffordable. For these reasons Breaded Escalope wanted to stress that designing a solution for this problem is often the way forward, it often reveals creative branches that would have been unexpected in a common manufacturing process. They encouraged innovation and self discovery around the manufacturing processes.
‘This may be a reason to surrender or alternatively the start of an interesting new challenge.’- Breaded Escalope
‘If you can’t leap the hurdle, you have to limbo under it!’- Breaded Escalope
And so I began my research looking at product designers who have come up with unusual and creative production methods of their own…
Pane Chair By Tokujin Yoshioka
It’s named pane after the italian word for bread. Inspired by an article in National Geographic where new types of fibers are blown out like a spider’s web. It is made from a fibrous polyester mesh which is folded, or ‘kneaded’ like dough, into a cylindrical mould and then baked in an oven.
Meltdown Chair By Tom Price
This chair needs little explanation as it really does speak for itself. The Meltdown series are the result of an experimental process developed by Tom Price, which uses a variety of commonplace plastic products to create a strikingly diverse collection of sculptural seating. Drawing on techniques from his background in both fine art and design, Tom Price applies new concepts of craftsmanship in an act of wilful manipulation and material inventiveness.
Follow the link to view a video of the chair being manufactured:
The beginning of my experiments..
I wanted to create a mould that could be filled in with a liquid material, that sets and hardens and takes the shape of the selected mould. The difference is that the mould had to be made from a flexible material in order for it to be moulded and shaped according to the user at that moment in time. Like for example if you were to fill a balloon with plaster, as it set with your hands you would manipulate the shape by pressing into it in different directions. I found this interesting as moulds are often made from a solid material, but this was a flexible material that could be adjusted and changed while it was setting.
So the concept started off with the inspiration of balloon artists..
The next step was to find a material that could be sealed air tight and that used as a mould to pour plaster into and then manipulated it into whatever shape/form I wanted. So I wanted to start by cutting PVC fabric, that had fibres of thread in it, into shapes and trying to find solutions of sealing it.
Bonding Test 1: All purpose adhesive didn’t work.
Bonding Test 2: Plastic Welder burnt holes into the material as there were thread fibres that kept on creating a spark which burnt holes into the fabric, this meant that it was no longer airtight.
Bonding Test 3: Araldite, which is a hardener and resin. This also didn’t work. When tested by filing the prototype with water it began to leak.
Bonding Test 4: Superglue and activator seemed to work, however it got very messy and had to be done very carefully to ensure that I was not glueing my skin together and to make sure that all of the edges were covered. Both chemicals, the superglue and the activator, are clear so it was difficult to determine that it is in fact airtight.
Adjacent to testing the sealing processes, I started to think of what the object could be, and I realised that I actually wanted to make a stool, a simple, relatively small product that would mainly be based on the manufacturing process.
I started to sketch different ways in which this can be executed..
Once I had a rough idea of the shape of the stool I cut out the shapes required to be sealed. These can be found in the photo below.
Two Rings which would be bonded on the outside to one another and 6 rectangular trips that were about 45cms in length(which is the standard height of a chair) in order to form the legs.
Once a mock-up of the fabric was cut and tested using the superglue and activator, I realised that this was not feasable as I ould never be sure that it was completely sealed. As a result I moved onto another material:
0.3 mm thick
I knew that PVC was able to be plastic welded like floating swimming objects.
So I ran a test which was a simple long tube that I wanted to pour plaster into and see if it worked..
Once it was all welded I ran a test by pouring water into it to see if there were any spots I had missed..
Once I was sure that it was airtight I started to mix the plaster..
I then started to work with the stool form, so I cut all the parts to the right measurements..
Once the shapes and sizes had been cut to the right size, I had to begin plastic welding…
Where mistakes happened, and they happened quite often as the machine is pretty old and can be a bit temperamental and will send a current at times larger than required so it would burn into the PVC, I had to go over these sections with an extra piece of fabric and weld it on all sides to make sure the hole has been perfectly covered.
Once I had the the mould welded and sealed airtight I had to think about how to pour the mixture in and how to create the shape of the stool.. So I thought about what the heaviest point was and that being the base, it had to sit flat on a surface. This meant that the creation of a pouring hole and air holes needed to be made through the bottom of the legs as they will be what sits up to funnel the plaster into the rest of the mould.
Once this was determined I had to think about how to stop the legs from falling flat and to keep them at a 90 degree angle..So I made a stand for the mould to sit on..This was 3 strips of steel all bent at the right measurement and placed strategically where the legs would stand upright..
I knew that pouring in white plaster would just result in a white plaster stool, so to make it interesting and in order to create a series that was a selection of colours I thought about adding a pigment, so I added a pigment to the mixture of plaster…My inspiration for this was drawn from the materials and colour workshop. I was also inspired by my childhood experiences of playing with marbles, i was also drawn to the different colours inside of them.
The process…of mixing plaster and pigmenting..
The plaster had to be poured in as quickly as possible before it set, and as the holes were small this was quiet fiddly and took longer than expected. Another problem I had encountered was that once the plaster was poured in. I had to wait a couple of seconds for it the plaster to travel down the legs, and i found that it took longer than a couple of seconds to squeeze the plaster down the tubes to ensure that was reaching all the points and this meant that the plaster mixed had dried quicker.
I am currently in the position where I am waiting for the plaster to dry..more images coming soon..
To evaluate what I have done so far, I feel as though the concept has slightly moved away from the original idea of balloon artists, however it has still led me to an interesting set of outcomes and if this works or doesn’t.. it has definitely got me interested in the idea of making a series of of relatively small furniture from a liquid material that solidifies. Being able to add a pigment makes things so much more fun and the idea that the outcome might very fluid and reflect on the kind of language the mould holds. That language being that its a fabric and not a solid mould, so where it has been pressed on in some areas while it is drying all contributes to the final outcome, so fingers crossed, we will wait and see..
During the time of waiting for it to dry I have found some more visual reference that supports my experiments..
Plop Family By Zieta
Steel goes through a process called, FIDU, which inflates two steel sheets welded around the edges into a 3D object.
Fatty Shell By Kyle Sturgeon, Chris Holzwart and Kelly Raczkowski.
Similar what I’m doing they have fabricated using a flexible plastic-like material which was then supported using a frame and filled with concrete.
Concrete Chair By Tejo Remy and Rene Veenhuizen
The series includes prototypes of two chairs, a bench and table that have been cast inside plastic sheeting and reinforced with steel rods and metal fibres. This is extremely similar to the experiments I am working on but I did not include steel rods in hope that the final outcome would be stable enough, although this could be something to consider if the process needs re-iteration!
The next example is:
NSEPS By Silo
Royal College of Art graduates Attua Aparicio and Oscar Wanless have invented a new manufacturing process that involves steaming polystyrene beads inside fabric moulds. They used the process: Not So Expanded Polystyrene to create these pieces of furniture.
Gravity Stool By Jolan Van Der Wiel
A series of stools created by magnets. He has designed a machine that shapes the stool depending on where the magnets are and the force of gravity. What I love about this is that each stool would be unique based on where the magnets are placed, so if one was to keep changing the magnet locations the stool will never be repeated.
Final Process recorded pages..