Dutch designer Jolan van der Wiel creates unusual ceramic sculptures using the conflicting properties of metallic clay and magnets. His latest project “Magnetism Meets Architecture” features a number of fantastic gravity-defying architectural models and explores the possibility of using magnetism in architecture.
The process of making such sculptures starts by mixing clay with water to create a slip, a mixture with the consistency of cream. Then he adds metallic powder like iron with the ratio typically being 90% clay, 10% metal. The whole blend is then transferred to a nozzle similar to the one confectioners use for cake icing. Carefully building layer after layer, van der Wiel allows surrounding magnets to pull them into various shapes resembling a drip sand castle (passing a magnetic field through the material provides an opposing force to gravity, thus the clay is pulled upwards and suspends in its place).
Van der Wiel is fascinated with the idea of using magnetism in architecture.
“I’m drawn to the idea that the force would make the final design of the building – architects would only have to think about the rough shape and a natural force would do the rest. This would create a totally different architectural field.”
According to the artist, he got the inspiration from Catalan architect Gaudi who used gravity to calculate the final shape of his famous building La Sagrada Familia: “I thought, what if he had the power to turn off the gravitation field for a while? Then he could have made the building straight up.” (via Wired)
Van der Wiel’s first encounter with magnets happened during his studies at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. For his first project artists produced a series of stools and has also worked with a fashion designer Iris van Herpen.
“In my studio we try to forget everyday life and use our imagination. I admire objects that show an experimental discovery, translated to a functional design. I see future potential in the joined cooperative forces of combining technology with natural phenomena. It is my believe that developing new “tools” is an important means of inspiration and allows new forms to take shape”,-says van der Wiel.