Israel-based product designer Hilla Shamia has always been interested in the imperfections within controlled products. And Just when we think we’ve seen every permutation of common production methods and materials under the sun, she comes up with a new one. Shamia’s “wood casting” technique involves pouring molten aluminium directly onto dead tree trunks. The surface of the wood gets burned, as you’d imagine, and the molten metal flows into the cracks, “completing” the voids in the wood with a shinier surrogate.
The casting process is accompanied with high heat, flames and smoke. When the metal is cooled down and the mold breaks apart, the furniture piece reveals the dark border between the hot metal and wood.
If you have a sensitive affinity for wood probably cringe a bit at the burning part. But Shamia knows what she’s doing and understands the role of artifice: “The negative factor of burnt wood is transformed into aesthetic and emotional value by preservation of the natural form of the tree trunk, within explicit boundaries,” she writes. “The general, squared form intensifies the artificial feeling, and at the same time keeps the memory of the material.”
The object is a result of its process which outlines the materials, enabling us to observe the leakage of aluminum and the carbonized wood which is frozen in time. Similar to nature, the final produce is unique, where no two pieces are identical. the incompleteness and randomness give the product its aesthetic value.