studio KAE is a design practice focusing on the research of materials and processes. The co-founders, Zhekai Zhang and Keren Wang, are RCA alumni in Design Products and respectively specialize in ceramic design and interaction design.
KAE is a product design studio we set up to vitalize the homeware industry through innovative techniques and creative application of sustainable materials.
We combine multiple aesthetics and various forms of media in our approach, transforming existing materials into a new design language.
Coffire is the lamp collection we created using a special colouring technique inspired by ancient pit firing. During low temperature firing at between 700 and 1000 degrees Celsius, coffee grounds would release biodiesel and sugar, which react and create a random reddish pattern on the ceramic surface as a result of multiple variables including temperature, humidity, and coffee grounds density.
Traditional sand pits are replaced by gas kilns during the firing process, which as a modern firing option, are easier to control and more suitable for mass production. Moreover, the final products are more saturated and stable in colour since gas kilns can be set at a constant temperature and provide a cleaner environment without trace elements.
Most coffee grounds end up as waste, which is energy consuming and could be environmentally hazardous. We practiced sustainable design concept in the Coffire project and proposed a possible solution to coffee grounds disposal.
We will return to materials, functions, aesthetics and other equally important issues after forming a basic idea. The randomness of material research is also embraced and appreciated in our work approach and visual language.
We are happy to see the aesthetics of form and functional attributes return to the matter, and to find the new meaning of design through rational deconstruction and perceptual reconstruction.
1 / 31show thumbnailsnext picture previous picture start slideshow close lightbox