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A vibrant new way of casting materials–Maor Aharaon's "Matter of Motion" project

A vibrant new way of casting materials–Maor Aharaon's "Matter of Motion" project

By Purva Chawla

Ever so often, a designer shows us familiar materials molded in a way we have never seen before. Colors and textures are blended to perfection, and the objects in front of us speak of their distinct way of making.

Tel Aviv, Israel-based designer Maor Aharon does just that, with his "Matter of Motion" project. A series of stools is among the first outcomes of this unique project and process. The vibrant stools, seen above, are a seamless combination of layers of diverse materials.

Their appearance is made more striking by the fact that they appear to have been caught in motion–mid swirl, mid-spin or as though just before their liquid components dripped down to the ground. This quality owes itself to an unusual and signature fabrication process: Aharon casts layers of brightly colored, liquid polymer resins into solid form, all while their mold spins atop a centrifuge machine.

"Matter of Motion," Maor says "is an experiment in the relationship between materials, motion, and shape. It focuses on centrifugal motion and examines how different parameters such as velocity, acceleration, and radius of rotation affect different materials." For the stools, the first finished products to emerge from this experiment, the goal was to explore techniques such as combining different materials (wood and metal inserts) during the casting process of the polymers, displaying multiple colors in a single object, and combining soft and hard materials together.

This experiment appears to have been extremely successful since each stool in the array is distinct from the next, and each showcases a different union of materials. 

 A blend of colors(right) and materials(left), with materials like brass being inserted, for legs, during the casting of the resins.

A blend of colors(right) and materials(left), with materials like brass being inserted, for legs, during the casting of the resins.

The idea of "Matter of Motion", however, extends far beyond any single product. The core of the experiment lies in the development of a new technique for casting multiple materials using centrifugal force. In addition to resins, there was extensive testing with casting materials like metal and plaster. The intent here is also to design, develop and build original tools and machinery which can then serve as a stand-alone production line, and manufacture small and medium-sized products. Through "Matter of motion," Maor expresses his desire to be a "one-man production line"–A novel idea which has indeed been realized.

 Research and testing with metals, plaster and polymer resins.

Research and testing with metals, plaster and polymer resins.

 From this single, unique process, endless possibilities can be generated for the stools,  as well as newer products. Moreover, from start to finish, an exceptionally finessed product can easily be created and assembled within Maor's studio. Each of these stools was formed in a single reusable rubber mold, from which infinite permutations of cast materials can come to life. 

The "Matter of motion" project has seen immense recognition in the last few months. Earlier this year, a dynamic and interactive installation by Maor at Jerusalem Design Week saw hundreds of visitors gaining a hands-on experience of the bespoke casting process. Stools and smaller objects were cast in the centrifuge, in front of guests, allowing them to appreciate the making of these products as much as the exotic final result.

 "Matter of motion" installation at Jerusalem Design Week

"Matter of motion" installation at Jerusalem Design Week

 "Matter of motion" installation at Jerusalem Design Week

"Matter of motion" installation at Jerusalem Design Week

 "Matter of motion" installation at Jerusalem Design Week

"Matter of motion" installation at Jerusalem Design Week

In the coming months, the young industrial designer will exhibit stools from this project at the London Design Festival. He will join members of the talented Form&Seek collective of designers, at the London Design Fair from 22-25th September 2016.

Just a few weeks shy of the festival, we spoke to Maor and asked him about his one of a kind experiment, beautiful products, and intent for the London Design Festival.


MD:  Maor, tell us a little bit about what you will be exhibiting at the London Design Festival this year.

Maor:  At the festival, I will be showing three stools from the project "Matter of Motion". Each of them will be a different representation of the technology I have developed for this project. In each stool, you will see varied combinations of layers, different patterns, and different materials inserts.

MD: This year's theme for the Form&Seek collective is 'De-Construct-Re-Construct'. As a member of this unique designers' collective, how does your work respond to this broader theme?

Maor: To re-construct is " to find out and describe or show the way an event or series of events happened" (Merriam-Webster).
In the case of the stools, various parameters of the process–such as different types of materials, the motion, and the combination of man and machine–are all very clearly reflected in the aesthetics of the final product. "Matter of Motion" is in that sense, a series of events that make a story and a product.

MD: Maor how did your experimentation with materials and fabrication techniques begin?

Maor: During the first year of my bachelor's program in industrial design, I learned that I was very drawn to materials that can be cast. Something in the transition of such materials, from liquid to solid allows me, as a designer, to intervene and play with the process.
In the early years of the degree, I did multiple experiments in metal casting and working with ceramics, so I knew that my final, graduation project would explore this issue further. Although this final project began with metal casting with motion, as soon as I got my hands on polymer resins, the project saw a significant shift in the form of layers, colors, and combinations of different materials that were possible. The result was the "Matter of Motion" series of works that you now see.

 Early research and testing, casting Pewter in the centrifuge, by Maor Aharon Studio.

Early research and testing, casting Pewter in the centrifuge, by Maor Aharon Studio.

MD: What reaction to your work are you anticipating (and hoping for), from viewers at the London Design Festival?

Maor: I hope to inspire curiosity; I think people will be happy to see the actual product, in the flesh, after it received attention in the design world this year.

MD: Tell us about your involvement with Form&Seek, which is such a unique collective of designers.

Maor: I think it's amazing that a group of designers who have a passion and love for materials and technology can unite in such a  collective and produce compelling exhibitions. Groups like Form&Seek have tremendous power to tell the whole story and deliver a complete idea.

MD: What has been the most challenging part of your preparation for the London Design Festival?

Maor: This is the first time that I am participating in an international exhibition all by myself and not as part of an exhibition representing Israel. This is exciting for me.

 Ping swing stool, from "Matter of Motion" by Maor Aharaon Studio.

Ping swing stool, from "Matter of Motion" by Maor Aharaon Studio.

The challenging part has been choosing the most suitable stools for the exhibition. They are all very different and have unique qualities to them. In general, I think that making the right choices is one of the biggest challenges of being independent designers. 

MD: Maor we wish you the very best for the festival! Thank you for speaking with us!

Readers, please see a link below to Maor's website, and that of designers' collective Form&Seek

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