*ding*. Model’s done.

I’ve been working furiously for the past couple of days finishing up a 3d model for the project in Miami. It’s a basic model, looking to define space and function and making sure all programmatic needs are met. There’s a couple of small changes that I still need to make (discovered after the fact, of course) but they are minor, and I should be able to get them done tonight with little problem.

One would think it gets easier from here, but actually it only gets harder. The next thing I’m going to do is make a small PowerPoint presentation to go over all of those programmatic needs and where they’ve been met by design, and how the design concept fits into all of them. Actually, that part is also easy (just takes a little time.) Where it gets harder is once that’s done- which is making the project fit the budget. THAT’s hard. This part is easy.

But now that I’m done with the furious Miami model making at the moment (DGD is brought to you by the letter M today, apparently), I realize my house is a mess (well, I knew that the last time I tripped over something.), I need to do some work on budgetary planning for a project in Los Angeles (don’t get excited, LA people- I’m not coming out there.), do some knitting, do some software tutorials for some of the various programs I’m working on, and work on my submissions for the DesignBoom Swarovski Crystal contest.

Speaking of contests, the Designer of the Future 2008 awards were announced yesterday at Dezeen.

Though I didn’t win, I’d like to thank everyone who nominated me- that was very kind of you.

The comments over there (and there aren’t many) would indicate that most people aren’t thrilled with the results. It’s all so subjective, I can’t even begin to get myself involved in that. However, with no offense intended *in any way* towards Max Lamb(whom I don’t know, so this isn’t about him personally- Max, if you’re reading this, congratulations on your win), I have problems with that bronze chair in terms of the method of its creation (again, this isn’t an issue of aesthetics. ) I can absolutely guarantee that I have (significantly) more bronze casting experience than either the designer or the judges here (really, unless someone else has worked for a foundry for several years, they can just take a step back now.) I don’t care what it looks like- I care that the process used to make it was absolutely toxic(more so than regular casting), and there are ways to get that same effect that would have been less so.

(for the link phobic- this is the chair in question)

Bronze Poly chair, by Max Lamb

At a time when the industry is working so hard on issues of environmental concern and sustainability, it bothers me that this particular example is being shown as something that is given awards.

And now, I’m off with my camera. The Bus Stop Magnolia is blooming.



  1. Wow. That chair… I guess you could call it that. I’d be more tempted to designate it a “sculpture” than “furniture.” I mean, yes, you can probably sit on it, but it looks like a thing made to see rather than use, which takes it out of the realm of furniture. I mean, “comfort” doesn’t appear to have entered into the design, there.

  2. Sometime could you elaborate on the casting methods and how you can tell what can tell from that image? Assuming it’s something that can be reasonably well explained to those without having years of foundry experience, of course.

  3. Actually, what I can tell has nothing to do with that image, but from an article I read previously describing how the chair was made. I can try to scare it up for you.

  4. Paul-


    Seems pretty clear to me he’s burning polystyrene.

  5. Ah, I see. That screams toxicity.

    I am curious about the alternate methods.

  6. Realistically, all you needed to do was take the extra two steps that it takes to make a mold from any other object. You’d need to coat it in a release agent, and make a rubber/silicone negative, and then create a wax positive from the mold.

    There was no need to burn the polystyrene.

  7. I don’t think you read the text properly…
    The idea is about sacrifising an object, so that no two chairs are the same.
    It means the designers doesn’t have to deploy expensive tooling costs to make negatives of something he will only make a few of.
    Its called lost foam casting .
    You talk about environmental impact – since when was making a mould in silicone environmentally friendly?!!
    I think it an interesting hands-on approach to furniture.

  8. Hi Sally,

    I understand the concept. It would seem though that there’s some points that need clarification.

    1. When you make a silicon mold, you aren’t burning it. It’s liquid. You pour it, it hardens, you cut it off the positive and you use it over and over You can create hundreds of items from that one mold. That, right there, is significantly better in terms of impact than burning polystyrene. A reusable item= + over something that can only be used once.

    Also, there’s no tooling involved. You could make one of these molds in your garage.

    2. If you’re only going to make a few of them, then you’re right, a silicone mold isn’t needed. However, neither is the polystyrene positive. You can word directly in wax like people have done for thousands of years. Carve the wax directly, cast it up, no burning plastic. I promise, it works perfectly(try it, it’s fun!) The foam isn’t needed here at all. It’s *convenient*, since carving foam is a lot easier than carving wax and you get a positive faster. But it doesn’t make it less toxic when you burn the stuff out.

    It’s interesting, but it’s not really innovative. All he’s done is replace one, non-toxic material (wax) with a toxic one (polystyrene). Other than that, the process is basically the same as it always has been. It’s not any more hands on than it would be in wax. It just requires less patience.

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