Can you squeeze a chair out of a machine, the way you squeeze toothpaste out of a tube? Extruded aluminum, commonly used for double-glazed window frame systems, is made by squeezing heated metal through a shaped hole, or die. Intrigued by the warped lengths that occur during this process, the studio sought to make seating, formed in single extrusions, that makes imperfection part of the design.
The Heatherwick team worked with an Asian factory whose extrusion machine, used to make aerospace-industry components, can exert 11,000 tons of pressure. The result is a series of seats in which straight, clean lengths contrast beautifully with raw, disfigured ends.
This electroless-nickel-plated, aluminum bench was designed by Thomas Heatherwick in collaboration with contemporary art gallery Haunch of Venison.
Photographed in the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York City.