Swedish born and Copenhagen based design and architecture duo Wang & Söderström have released a series of vases as part of their collection called Excavation. Originally conceived of as simply objects of art, the pair soon saw potential for turning them into sculptural vases. Created using 3D printing, the pattern of shapes and color that adorn the surface of the vessels are determined by an algorithm they created and then printed using a 3D ColorJet printer.Each vase is composed of two parts: the vessel itself which is off center but symmetrical, and a free form, almost topographical base. The two parts fit together perfectly to create a stable, but unexpected form. The vase itself is directly 3D printed while the base, imprinted with the name of the design team, is cast from a 3D printed form, as Anny Wang explained in an interview with Dezeen:
“Printing in full color allowed us to seamlessly transfer the digital data to physical form. The bottom piece is cast in polyurethane in order to give the sculpture a solid and heavier foundation.”
Wang & Söderström conceived of the vase as a particularly interesting moment to juxtapose the natural and digital worlds. Filling the vases with flowers, twigs, or other arrangements juxtaposed with the smooth vase and organic base creates an interesting conversation between two methods of creation that are often conceived of as opposites. As Wang described:
“The three sculptures are the result of an experimental approach on how to bring virtual objects to life. Created with the precision of digital software and 3D printing, which is hidden in a layer of an organic idiom. We wanted to use digital processes but keep a human imprint, to capture this significant time of ours, where the digital weaves more and more into our lives.”
All of this is in the best traditions of Wang & Söderström whose work continually strives to create unexpected experiences in which the methods and materials of fabrication are as much a part of the process as the end result. Their work has garnered them clients such as Nike, Refiner 29, and The New York Times. The creation of organic composite forms using modern technologies is a clearly recognizable motif throughout their body of work, and the vase collection is no exception. Speaking to 3DPrint.com, internationally recognized professor of architecture and design critic Matthew Dudzik offered a reading of the pieces:
“The architectonic quality of the vases as juxtaposed with the fluid organic quality of the bases creates a tension between realization and possibility. The 3D printed plaster vessels take their material cues from another class material, terrazzo, while simultaneously asking the viewer to move beyond historical references. Both ancient and uniquely modern, these sculptural objects speak both to a continuum of artistic practice while also challenging our preconceived notions of material culture.”
The vases are available for purchase through Unique Board, a New York-based company that works with designers and artists to help them create and sell their products.
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