The RCA Grad Who Hacked a Piece of Gym Equipment to Create These Slumped, Ceramic Vases

Having combed through the torrent of this summer’s design graduates, it’s gratifying to find someone we had the prescience to bookmark early on in his career: For Philipp Schenk-Mischke’s Process Plug-Ins project — the final collection of the designer’s Royal College of Art Design Products career — Schenk-Mischke looked at traditional modes of manufacturing, assembly, and use, and introduced physical “plug-ins” that might distort the final outcomes. Not unlike today’s web browser add-ons that enable digital customization, the designer hacked existing manufacturing techniques to add on specific features — and explore the expressive potential of industrial materials — in his physical objects.

For Schenk-Mischke’s Primitive Fixings shelving collection, for example, the designer devised a method of joining materials together by pouring liquid aluminum into pre-drilled channels. When solidified, the aluminum acts like a dowel, allowing the designer to connect once-complicated materials. Both functional and expressive, we like the collaged-together look of the aluminum and marble slab shelving units, with their glue-like, once-molten blobs looking more like organic jewelry pieces than typical construction screws.

The show-stealers here, however, are the BTM Ceramics: a collection of distorted, high-gloss ceramic vases. The vases are altered just after being taken out of the mold; the malleable pieces are placed on a body vibration plate — a piece of equipment hijacked from the fitness industry — and gently jiggled into more slumped, organic forms. Stay tuned for more RCA projects later this week!

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