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June 05, 2017

In the Studio with Chen Chen and Kai Williams

For their shaving brush interpretation for A Brush With Design, our collaboration with Harry's, Brooklyn-based Chen and Kai turned to aluminum pouring. We stopped in on the day of the pour.

What do you like about aluminum pouring?

Chen: The casting process is great because of the immediate results – once the liquid aluminum is poured, it only takes a few moments for it to solidify and the resulting form to be revealed.

We used this process to make our Liquid Metal Stools for Chamber Gallery earlier this year. It’s been helpful to explore metal casting in a hands-on way that will help inform our designs for future production pieces.

Kai: This is actually our third kiln. As they say, measure once, make three or four kilns, and two propane burners.

It seems like you have a lasting connection to this process and material.

Chen: I lived in Wyoming as a child and my parents would take me camping in the Rockies. One time we had a giant bonfire next to a lake and threw all the aluminum cans into the fire. The next morning I was amazed the cans had all melted down.

When we melt aluminum – that moment when the solid starts dissolving – I always think of that experience of and watching Terminator 2 on VHS all the time as a kid. (Lofty enough of an answer?)

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