#4

steven haulenbeek.

"cooperating with nature."


STEVEN HAULENBEEK IS AN EXPLORER OF NEW MANUFACTURING TECHNIQUES. HE HAS LEFT HIS MARK ON ON THE WORLD OF PRODUCT DESIGN WITH HIS INNOVATIVE TECHNIQUE Of  ICE CASTINg.

 “MY WORK IS IN A CONSTANT STATE OF SELF-DISCOVERY”,  STATES THE LATEST WINNER OF THE AMERICAN DESIGN HONORS. THE MICHIGAN NATIVE HAS BEEN INTERESTED IN THE VISUAL ARTS SINCE A VERY YOUNG AGE. HE HAS A BA IN DRAWING AND SCULPTURE, AND A BFA IN DESIGNED OBJECTS. SINCE GRADUATING HE HAS WORKED AS AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER FOR ATLANTA BASED FORMATION DESIGN GROUP, AND HAS LECTURED PART-TIME IN SAIC. ALONGSIDE BEING THE FOUNDING MEMBER OF THE EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN GROUPS SUCH AS ‘THE MIGHTY BEARCATS’ AND THE ‘CHICAGOLAND’, HE IS A STATEMENT-MAKER WITH HIS UNIQUE WAY OF PRODUCT FORMATION.

 HIS ICE-CAST BRONZE SERIES, INCLUDING VESSELS AND MIRROR FRAMES, WERE MADE LARGELY IN A TROUGH OF ICE OUTSIDE HAULENBEEK’S STUDIO WINDOW DURING LAST WINTER’S DEEP FREEZE. HAULENBEEK ORIGINALLY CONCEIVED THE SERIES BACK IN 2011, WHEN HE WAS FOOLING AROUND WITH POURING WAX INTO FROZEN PUDDLES ON CHICAGO’S CITY STREETS. CHICAGO WINTER’S EXTREME CONDITIONS GAVE HAULENBEEK THE OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE THE WHOLE OPERATION ONTO A MUCH LARGER SCALE. IN A VARIATION OF THE AGE-OLD LOST WAX CASTING METHOD, THE PROCESS REPLACES THE PLASTER MOLD WITH CARVED-OUT ICE BLOCKS, A SWITCH THAT ULTIMATELY GIVES THE SURFACE OF THE BRONZES A RIDGED, ALMOST BARK-LIKE TEXTURE.

 —  “AFTER I POURED THAT FIRST WAX PUCK IN THE PUDDLE, I STARTED TO EXPERIMENT. I’D TAKE A STAINLESS STEEL IKEA BOWL, FREEZE IT, AND POUR WAX INTO THAT. THEN I’D FREEZE WATER AROUND THAT BOWL AND SEE WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I DID THAT. THEN I STARTED POURING DIRECTLY INTO ICE, AND THAT’S WHAT I’VE STUCK WITH. THE FIRST REAL VESSELS WE PRODUCED I WOULD JUST GO TO POLAR ICE PLACES AND I’D BUY A 10-INCH CUBED BLOCK OF ICE. I’D CARVE A CAVITY USING A SAW AND CHISELS, POUR THE WAX INTO THE CAVITY, FILL IT UP TO THE TOP AND LEAVE IT IN THERE FOR ONE OR TWO MINUTES. THE OUTER QUARTER-INCH OF WAX HARDENED AGAINST THE ICE BUT THE CENTER WAS STILL LIQUID THAT I COULD POUR OUT, AND IT WOULD LEAVE ME A WAX VESSEL THAT WAS VERY EASILY RECREATED IN BRONZE USING THE LOST WAX PROCESS.” — HAULENBEEK DEPICTS ABOUT HIS INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO CASTING.
 —  “COMING FROM A SCULPTURE BACKGROUND, I’VE ALWAYS BEEN VERY HANDS-ON. I NEVER START WITH A COMPUTER; OFTEN I DON’T USE A COMPUTER AT ALL, WHICH IS WHY MY SHIT IS SO OUT OF DATE. I’M MAKING SKETCHES ALL THE TIME BUT MORE OFTEN THAN NOT I’M SKETCHING IN REAL MATERIALS — WHICH IS HOW THE ICE CAST BRONZE PIECES STARTED. EVEN BEFORE THERE’S AN IDEA FOR A DESIGN AND BEFORE THERE’S A TYPOLOGY LINKED TO IT, I’M EXPERIMENTING WITH MATERIALS AND UNDERSTANDING WHAT I CAN DO WITH THEM AND HOW I CAN APPLY THAT RATHER THAN DRAWING SOMETHING AND TRYING TO GET AS CLOSE TO THAT DRAWING AS POSSIBLE.” — HE ASSERTS, CONSIDERING THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HIS DESIGNING METHODS.

 NOWADAYS STEVEN CONTINUES TO DESIGN BOTH TRADITIONAL AND EXPERIMENTAL FURNITURE AND TABLETOP OBJECTS. PRODUCTURE IS A FAN OF ALL HIS DESIGNS, BUT DEFINITELY IS A GREAT FAN OF HIS ICONIC CAST PIECES...!