Monday, 14 November 2011

look at this rad thing we found # 4

deborah tchoudjinoff kind of melted our minds when she told us of her innovative silicone vase creations. the silicone works in such a way that when the vase is full of water, it bloats, and as the water begins to evaporate, the vase begins to droop. thus, one always remembers to feed the flowers. we caught up with deborah to find out more about her work and resisted the urge to ask her "why not expand into making silicone fish tanks!?"

poxymash: where did you grow up deborah?
deborah: born in france and grew up all over.... in asia, us, and europe. mother is taiwanese, and father is french-mongolian (explains the last name).

pm:how did you come to work in design?

deborah: i went to art school in philadelphia initially for painting, something that i had been doing for as long as I can remember. in a lot of ways design made sense to me. it allows for a more holistic way of engaging in the creative process. also design requires a broad range of skills and discipline in a different way than someone in fine arts. you can do independent interesting work as well as more commercial projects. the shift over to the industrial design department was only yes, it was my undergraduate degree.

pm: could you tell us exactly what it is you design and what materials you use?
deborah: i have been doing a range of design work in different cities. lighting design in new york, information architecture in paris, furniture design in beijing, and most recently the design/construction of a house in ecuador as part of a 'revamping the farm' project. with that being said one of my pet side projects includes a vase made out of silicone. it is done so in a way that when you pour water in the vase 'bloats' up. as the water slowly evaporates and the flowers decay the vase slowly droops...a visual reminder for those who often forget to water their flowers. i am working on finding a way to expand this project and really play with the idea and material. a series of vases that do exactly this but perhaps in different forms. But I guess to best sum up the range of my work from swiss army re-imagined, furniture design, to a mapping book for protestors keeps a theme of exploring the potential of human interaction with object/space. the design process for these projects showcase a cultural-contextual and socially-minded approach.

pm: what is it about your chosen materials that attracts you to them?
deborah: i have not restricted myself to just one material for the moment. However, to best answer the question, during my year in beijing working for dynamic city foundation, i was in charge of the design and manufacturing of a line of furniture. one of the constraints was using only factories and materials accessible within beijing - rattan, recycled cork, aluminum, recycled foam, local textiles, chinese wood. first off setting the limits by location, and then finding within that the list of materials to use, called for really fun design studies. but using silicone is like being a child again with a few tubes of face paint.

to view more of deborah's work please visit :

 [aine herlihy]

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