Most of us buy our dishes at the store. Some of us are so bold as to produce our own pottery. But this place setting blows them all away. Its bowls were rotationally cast in the washing machine, the centerpiece was steam-bent in the microwave, and the silverware was melted on the stove before being cast in a cereal box.
“This project started from a desire to make the most of the objects and architecture I already have,” Steiner tells Co.Design, “especially as I live in a really small flat which I share with three others.”
That’s right, Steiner, a student at RCA, spent months taking over the shared space from his roommates, repurposing their joint possessions to create bespoke-manufactured items. His obsession started with the washing machine, and a fascination with the disproportion between its vast size versus the relatively short amount of time people actually use it.
So he disassembled an embroidery hoop and repurposed it as the frame of a rotating cast. Placed inside the washing machine, it could spin around a mold to create a bowl, or anything else he’d like.
It’s just one of his improvisational tricks, including a lampshade cut from baking trays and bent on a door frame, a blender repurposed as a lathe to carve cork, and a mixer that doubled as a pottery wheel.
“Almost every aspect of the project took many iterations,” Steiner says. “There was normally this breakthrough moment of seeing the process work, but then lots of very small steps to hone it to a point where I could control it.”
The most extreme case was in steam-bending the rulers. Steiner bought his local stationary shop out of rulers every few days. “They must have thought I was eating them,” he says. But that was the price of figuring out how to consistently bend wood on a domestic scale. Eventually, his solution was a “drying rack and rolling pin jig.” Similarly, while transforming a blender into a pottery wheel may seem almost obvious, the motor actually spun far too fast with too little torque. Steiner was forced to throw his pottery in stages, letting it dry a bit in between to safely manipulate the structure.
Ultimately, Steiner found that what he missed most of all from the formal workshop space were his friends. But building in such a self-contained environment can be satisfying–a satisfaction he thinks other people can experience as well.
“I’d like to surprise viewers a little and maybe make them think a bit more about how many possessions they have and how often they use them,” Steiner writes. “I’d quite like people to think a bit more before declaring 3-D printing to be the answer to everything.”