A Brad Ford interior in Architectural Digest
Medium: Engineered Cemetitious Composite, recycled foam
Dimensions: 16 in high x 16 in wide x 16 in deep
The Cube Series, available in four variants, boasts a remarkably flexible range of functions. A Cube can serve as a stool, ottoman, table or artwork. Standing alone, it makes a strong sculptural statement. At the opposite end of the applications spectrum, several Cubes can be grouped or ganged together as highlight pieces in informal, transitional or reception areas, or as outdoor furniture.
The Cube looks old and otherworldly; however, any formal representation is purely coincidental. Rather, the Cube Series exemplifies two of STACKLAB’s continuing interests. First, to create objects whose appearance tells the viewer something about how it was made. In this case, the Cubes celebrate the industrial process that creates moulds for producing sand-cast metal parts.
More importantly, STACKLAB has an interest in reintegrating historic materials into the scaled production of useful, modern objects. While patterns are still commonly used in manufacturing, they are regularly decommissioned and archived in response to industry innovation. There is a growing abundance of unproductive industrial patterns in foundries and factories. Many of these historic patterns were hand-carved by craftspeople whose specialized knowledge of metallurgy and woodworking has been mostly forgotten in today’s era of computer-aided manufacturing.
STACKLAB has been experimenting with disused wooden patterns, made between 1890 and 1950, to create cast furnishings and sculptures that reuse the patterns in a different, contemporary way.
One reuse strategy, exemplified by the Cube Series, is to reconfigure a wooden pattern of a decommissioned, historic pump as a mould to make a casting in an alternative, low-temperature medium such as Engineered Cementitious Composite (ECC).
ECC resembles, but is more elastic and less brittle than, concrete, and better suited for the building of furniture. It uses recycled glass as an aggregate and recycled fiber as a reinforcing agent.
This composition reduces to a half-inch the three-inch structural thickness required with conventional steel-reinforced concrete construction. Such performance makes it possible to use ECC as a skin around a lightweight recycled foam core.
Unlike metal, ECC can be cast directly from a wooden pattern, creating a robust negative or inverse of the original. The specific industrial shapes of these patterns become non-specific when inverted, lending themselves to flexible programming. Indeed, the Cubes can be oriented on any of their six sides.
As for the Cube’s variants, four different details, each bearing distinct though related geometries and designated Cube A through D, were cast from the same vintage wooden pattern, divided into quarters.
Each piece in this limited series is available exclusively at Maison Gerard.