Material Monday: Soft Steel

Material Monday: Soft Steel

Posted 24 April 2017 by Nirvana CPH

This week’s Material Monday is brought to you by Seetal Solanki Director of materials research consultancy Ma-tt-er.  

Most metals we come across would be considered a solid material but there are processes now which are transforming a once solid material into a softer one. These states of change are such prevalent qualities to the work of Studio ilio.

Rigorous material investigation into this very industrialised process has led Studio ilio into developing a range of fabrication techniques that relate to a more domestic environment than an industrial one.

The softness, flexibility and fibrous nature to the material is likened to a textile and therefore changing the role of the tradesman from a welder to a tailor perhaps. Rather like felting and a sheep’s wool into a fibre.

The vases and containers also have a direct relationship to the domestic environment and which makes perfect sense in its historical and cultural context. In 1896, all the way back to the origin of steel wool was mainly used for finishing and polishing wood, metal objects or cleaning household dishes. The handfeel and the vessels have an approachable feeling which makes the material also have a deceptiveness to it as there is a surprise element of understanding what it is or what it could be. Once the material has been revealed to the viewer that it is a steel then the curiosity of how it was made and who made it comes into play.

Studio ilio have pushed the material even further by applying needle punching and spot welding techniques and have developed an entirely new surface treatment that can be applied within homeware and not just for solid structural elements of buildings. Bringing a whole new dimension to a once solid material into a soft one, showing its versatility.

An investigation into the many attributes that can apply to a single material.

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