Since 2009, Brooklyn-based designers Chen Chen and Kai Williams (CCKW) have been experimenting with a range of industrial processes and materials to create a range of handcrafted objects. Concrete planters are cast from whole fruit moulds, foam vases push through netted bodies and extruded jewelry cut down to size, all occupy space in the designers’ object experiments.
The two share an interest in what they call “techno materials”—materials that are not found in nature including PVC, composites, polyester, and the ways industrial processes can shape the handmade.
The first object the duo produced together debuted at NoHo Design District’s presentation during the last New York Design Week. The “Cold Cuts and Hamhock” coaster set illustrates their design ethos simply: Each “Hamhock” is an uniquely formed man-made composite bound together by an outer netting. Slicing the composite into sections creates a unique set of coasters.
The project was inspired by the industrial process of extrusion: where a length of material is sliced to create identical cross-sectional pieces. But with Chen Chen & Kai Williams’ handcrafted “Hamhocks”, each sliced “Cold Cut” varies from the next, despite being produced in an identical process. The coasters vividly display the raw materials of their making: PVC netting, wooden dowels, woven cords, epoxy and plastics meld together to create a new man-made composite.
Project: Cold Cut Coasters
Location: New York, USA
Designers: Chen Chen and Kay Williams (CCKW), New York, USA
Technical info: PVC, wood, woven
Picture credits: Chen Chen and Kay Williams