chris wolston forms funky foam and sand-cast aluminum furniture chris wolston forms funky foam and sand-cast aluminum furniture
may 04, 2016

chris wolston forms funky foam and sand-cast aluminum furniture

chris wolston forms funky foam and sand-cast aluminum furniture
image courtesy of sight unseen

 

 

 

during new york design week 2016, sight unseen spotlights new work by five american studios on the rise. as part of the exhibition hosted at collective design fair, chris wolston presents a series of furniture and functional objects that expand upon the practice of sand-casting to create tables, chairs, vessels and lights. working between studios in brooklyn and medellín, wolston studied both the technical and traditional processes of aluminum casting, eventually experimenting with atypical mediums that would alter the ordinary outcome.

 

 

making of chris wolston’s sand-cast aluminum furniture in medellín, colombia
video by david sierra // orgasmo visual

 

 

 

wolston added various types of foam material to sand and observed how they transformed when combined with molten aluminum. when the metal hits the foam, the heat melts the soft material, leaving an impression of the original filling’s texture. skewers of styrofoam squares became the legs of a table, and bundles of tiny foam beads form textured surfaces on chairs and bowls. larger pieces, like the table, have been made by the interlocking of organically-shaped surfaces cast in sand. in their finality, wolston combined some of the smaller tables with like foamed aluminum sheeting as legs — an architectural material ordinarily used for sound-proofing.

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-02
a small, cast aluminum chair is formed by molten metal
image © designboom

 

 

 

in partnership with designtex, wolston realized a custom wallpaper that forms the backdrop of the presentation. glass scraps have been magnified to produce a colorful configuration that resembles candies, or gems. ‘I had originally collected the glass pieces to use in a sand-cast glass series and I liked the material relationship that was happening,’ wolston says. ‘I began thinking about the glass pieces’ absolution and reflection of light as a story or a treasure map to a far-off world, so I took the pieces with me to the studio in medellín to photograph in the colombian sun.’

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-02
the texture on the surface of the chair is created with small styrofoam beads 
image © designboom

 

 

 

‘the inspiration for my work often comes from visiting factories and seeing how things are made,’ wolston tells sight unseen. ‘the aluminum foundry in medellin is set up in an old car garage between a brightly painted pink house and a popsicle shop. everything in the shop is done by hand except for polishing, which is made easier by a grinding wheel at the front. inside, the foundry floors are piled high with mounds of black casting sand. the furnace in the back casts a glow that’s reflected by the piles of chopped aluminum engine-blocks and old cooking pots from the recycling yard. the old pots are waiting to be recast into lemon juicers and wok-shaped pans used for processing sugar.’

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-02
the table features one cast aluminum leg made with styrofoam squares and two aluminum foam panels 
image courtesy of chris wolston

 

 

 

‘dario’s family has run the foundry for two generations, and his sons have helped me set up a series of sand molds in the middle of the floor,’ wolston continues. ‘from here, the physical work begins, but it’s not only about sand-cast aluminum or responding to design trends, it’s about the environment and the experience — exploring new frontiers. I like understanding material relationships, and seeing how people connect with the things around them, knowingly or not.’

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-02
the table’s legs use aluminum foam for support — an ordinarily architectural material
image © designboom

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-02
a fluidly-shaped table top meets three rectangular legs 
image courtesy of chris wolston

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-02
the cast aluminum coffee table on display at collective design fair 
image © designboom

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-02
two molten metal materials meet 
image courtesy of chris wolston

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-02
organically shaped table tops sit on legs made using metal and styrofoam 
image © designboom

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-02
the legs of the table have been originally formed from skewers of square styroam pieces 
image courtesy of chris wolston

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-02
the table top is an amalgamation of fluidly-shaped metal pieces put together like a puzzle 
image © designboom

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-02
detail of the aluminum legs, cast from styrofoam chunks 
image courtesy of chris wolston

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-02
small chair, standing light and stool  
image courtesy of chris wolston

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-02
a series of standing lights at various heights form part of the collection 
image © designboom

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-02
cast aluminum vessel with legs 
image © designboom

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-02
the fruit bowl features a surface of small rounded aluminum orbs
image © designboom

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-02
tiny styrofoam beads have been cast to create a tactile exterior surface 
image courtesy of chris wolston

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-818
the cast aluminum collection presented at collective design 
image © designboom

chris-wolston-collective-new-york-design-week-cast-aluminum-designboom-02
portrait of chris wolston
image © designboom

 

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    design news