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Winner of Design Event MART Award 2011 Most Innovative Use of Material sponsored by Formica Ltd
Hannah Wales is a Furniture and Product Design graduate from Northumbria University. As a designer she enjoys discovering concepts and ideas that are a result of hands on exploration of materials and processes. “I find that innovation comes from fully understanding and appreciating the materials and processes being utilized.”
She takes pleasure from being part of the process and when ever possible she produces the products herself. “For me, imperfections are not mistakes, they tell the story of the products life and encourage the user to be more aware of how they have been made”.
“I want people to buy by products because they love them and want to keep them for a lifetime.” Using Silicone means that the product will not deteriorate in any way and so will look as good in years to come as it did the day it was purchased.
These products were the result of an exploration into the ways in which surface finish can both visually and physically enhance an object. The intention was to explore beyond the fundamentals of finishing processes and material finishes, to look at the semantics of surface finishes.
Investigating the emotional and sensory response people have to different finishes led me to experimenting with Silicone.
Silicone is a soft, tactile, rubber like material that tempts the user to touch and hold it. It is resistant to heat and water, is incredibly hard wearing and can be produced in any colour.
Each texture gives the illusion of being an existing material but interaction with the products reveal the material to be silicone, provoking a positive sensory response.
The woolen texture of the protective silicone mug sleeves relates to the protective, warming nature of knitted clothing.
By taking the appearance of everyday objects like elastic bands and applying it to a completely different product such as a paperweight, it enhances the product both functionally and aesthetically.
The products were made by taking plaster and silicone moulds of the pre existing textures and then casting silicone within these moulds.
The nature of moulds means that each product can be batch produced, however, each mould has a limited lifetime and therefore only a limited number of replicas can be formed. The next batch will always be slightly different, as a new mould will have to be produced.