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 molds, 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 plastics, 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 New York’s Design Week 2011. The “Cold Cuts and Hamhock” coaster set illustrates their design ethos simply: Each “Hamhock” is a 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 informed 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: wooden dowels, woven cords, vinyl netting, epoxy and plastics meld together to create a new man-made composite.
Debuting at Inventory design collective’s TIME exhibition during Art Basel Miami Beach, their most recent project is their first collaboration with a major manufacturer. Tai Ping carpets produced four circular rugs—Cactus Less Doctor, Cutlass Credo Cost, Coast Occult Dress and Oldest Stucco Scar— based on CCKW’s “Cold Cuts and Hamhock” coaster set. Working with Tai Ping, CCKW developed a unique process to integrate a mix of wool, flax, bamboo and silk into each carpet’s composition.
The carpets are now available through Inventory here.