Daniel Arsham’s 3D printed sink combines sustainability with creative experimentation
Daniel Arsham and Kohler’s 3D printed basin synchronizes the worlds of creativity, experimentation and sustainability
American multidisciplinary artist Daniel Arsham is no stranger to collaboration. In 2021 alone, he’s already merged his signature aesthetic with people like Porsche, Tiffany & Co and Pokemon, showcasing his incredible ability to flex his creative muscles while staying true to the essence of his work. The Arsham ethic has worked well with a wide range of brands, the most recent of which is American kitchen and bathroom giant Kohler, with whom he designed a limited edition sink. Created using Kohler’s cutting-edge technology, the sink, named “Rock.01”, is Kohler’s first artist collaboration in many years.
A ceramic sink 3D printed by Daniel Arsham and Kohler
The 3D printed sink continues the same line of thinking that Arsham explored with his “Objects for Living II” furniture collection, shown at the Friedman Benda Gallery in September. Confined to his Long Island home for the first few months of the pandemic, he experimented with materials that were easily within reach – rocks and stones found, and his sons’ Play-Doh collection, which he would use. to create hand-pressed shapes. ‘Rock.01’ poetically links these organic elements. Featuring an asymmetric glazed basin, which rests against a rock-shaped cast brass shape, and with the same recognizable patina as Arsham’s bronze sculptural works, the design of the sink is a true first in industry.
“Kohler contacted me about a year and a half ago, specifically about a new technology they had developed around 3D printed ceramics,” Arsham recalls. “The technology is fairly nascent, but beyond the ability to do some amazing things that are not possible with traditional slip casting, there is a huge sustainability factor. There is very little waste and it uses much less water than regular casting methods. I wanted to create something that would be iconic or representative of the technology itself, and I wanted to think big. ‘
Arsham also incorporated a respectful nod to Kohler’s 148-year history into the design, to create that tension between past, present and future that has characterized his work. “When I originally designed the sink, there were two components that appeared to be a stone laid on top of each other,” he says. “But after realizing that Kohler was making cast iron tubs in the late 19th century, I ended up using a cast brass base that has a familiar patina to the rest of my bronze work. It’s a beautiful juxtaposition of this heirloom material that feels very worn and old, alongside some futuristic new material.
“One of the very interesting things about the 3D printed surface is that it is actually quite imperfect,” Arsham adds. “There are a few flaws and in some ways it looks more handmade than other sinks Kohler produces now.”
‘Rock.01’ will debut at Design Miami as part of an installation designed by Arsham to mark Kohler’s first time at the fair. Released in a limited edition of 99 pieces, the inspiring design effortlessly unites the worlds of Arsham and Kohler, though it might seem unlikely at first glance. In truth, Kohler’s affiliation with the arts runs deep. Not only does the company have a long history of supporting the John Michael Kohler Center, an organization offering an artist residency program in the house donated by the company founder, but it also runs the Kohler Foundation, which has championed the arts and l education through grants. , scholarships, art preservation efforts and a performing arts series since 1940.
For David Kohler, CEO and chairman of Kohler, the company’s partnership with Arsham, which stems from its relationship with art consultancy, The Art Lab, couldn’t be more transparent. “We have a common philosophy on the topics of innovation, pushing boundaries and thinking differently,” he says. “Many of Daniel’s works are a tribute to time, where the future meets the past. For us, 3D printed ceramics are exactly that – juxtaposing one of our oldest material sets with a new production mechanism. We knew Daniel would be a genuine partner to market it with us for the first time. We had spent three years with this technology before integrating Daniel, and we used this learning to establish certain technical parameters. With these fundamental fence posts, the canvas for the final design itself was entirely his. §