When designers and leading industrial enterprises put their heads together, it usually gets exciting. While such a collaboration allows industry the possibility of demonstrating its special capabilities in a completely new context, its manufacturing processes, conversely, provide an unexpected treasure trove of new design solutions for creative minds. This is what happened in the collaboration between SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH Guss Gruppe and the Berlin-based design studio Formfjord.
The core competence of the European market leader for cast stainless-steel products lies in particularly demanding casting solutions: ‘Just tell us how you want the product to look. We’ll make sure that such an artistic casting can be produced.’ The company has already produced complicated castings for such prominent artists as Jeff Koons and Anish Kapoor, proving that Andreas Höller, director of the SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH foundry in Ennepetal, is not exaggerating. Together with Formfjord, SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH now wants to prove these outstanding capabilities in another field, namely product design.
The first product to emerge from this new collaboration is the ‘Cioccolato’ wall clock, which is produced as a limited edition of 1,000 units. It marks the beginning of a new design collection of premium-cast stainless-steel products, launched under the label Pure Cast
During this year’s Salone del Mobile, ‘Cioccolato’, together with working models and off-casts, will be showcased at the ‘Poetry Happens’ exhibition in Lambrate.
How did this unusual collaboration come about?
Fabian Baumann: The approach was a surprise to us because, up to that point, we didn‘t even know who SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH were. But we have been hooked on the project since our first factory tour. SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH already has quite some experience in the field of artistic castings. The collaboration with designers, therefore, was actually not that far-fetched.
Sönke Hoof: An excellent idea because the specialty of the foundry, namely the precision casting of stainless steel, has barely been used in the field of design up to this point. Just imagine that castings of the highest quality are produced daily at SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH and then simply disappear into large machines – what a pity.
You are a pretty young design studio. Why do you think your studio was chosen?
FB: One aspect certainly was our previous work. I believe another decisive reason for collaborating with us was that we are a team consisting of a product designer and a mechanical engineer, and therefore already bring along considerable technical know-how.