Elementalism

Luke Masters

Elementalism – a design tactic in which the raw material or the imperfections of the material is highlighted and celebrated rather than covered over and hidden away.

Elementism is based around the idea of the design of a product being heavily influenced by the material it will be manufactured out of. The form of the design meets the requirements of the material and revolves around imperfection as a way of creating individuality which, in turn, is an extension of one’s self.

Rather than imperfections and unique characteristics being painted over and covered up, a product should showcase the subtle nuances of the material which give a product personality.  

​This goes against the style of creating flawless and subsequently generic looking products. It is the asymmetry and of a material which creates unique bonds with a person.

A by-product of featuring the rawness of a material is that lasting connections with its user is made. A person who settles on a product with individuality chooses to bypass the conventional and is more likely to use the product till the end of its life rather than discontinuing use while the product has more life.

This greater product – person connection raises the product from being an inanimate object to something of poignance with which memories can be made.

Elementalism is not only a design style, it is a merging of art and design into one. It is a way to challenge the conventional and creates an involvement of emotion closely connected with art.

From a young age, I have always shown natural artistic tendencies. I studied product design to formalise this lifelong passion. Through experimenting with organic forms, I have come to appreciate the honesty and simplicity of geometric shapes. I enjoy designing a wide range of products, with my focus on ergonomics infused with beauty. I believe every designer has an obligation to design worthwhile and useful objects, which not only serve their purpose, but also complement everyday life.  My goal is to work with likeminded individuals who share my love for perfection and a drive for achieving it. To improve lives through design would be the most rewarding experience I could ask for.

As much as 50-80% of timber is wasted during normal manufacture. Together with designer James Shaw, Marjan van Aubel discovered that a curious chemical reaction occurs when mixing timber waste with bio-resin: It expands into a strong, foam-like material almost twice its size.

Wood Casting Furniture by Hilla Shamia

Hilla demonstrates the harmony and unique design style created by designing around a material’s characteristics and utilising those characteristics to create individuality.

The method of casting aluminium with wood preserves the natural look of the material and also gives the wood an added idiosyncratic feature in the form of a burnt gradient.

The squared form of the furniture pieces is artificially created but is highlighted and intensified by the negative space occupied by the contrasting aluminium.

The product’s individuality is increased as no two pieces are alike. This adds exclusivity to the already unique design.

The simplicity of the design also makes redundant the need for joinery of any kind as the two materials join to become one uniform piece.

Hilla Shamia Work

Hand Blown Glass Vase by Scott Slagerman

Scott Slagerman’s vases utilise fallen logs and blown glass to form a symbiotic relationship between the raw energy of the wood and the sleek beauty of the coloured glass.

Each glass form is blown into the crevasse to complete a puzzle piece fit with the wood.

This form’s cumbersome stature brings the practicality of the vase into question. However, practicality can be overlooked and is outweighed by the sheer boldness of the materials used.

The boundary between art and design are blurred as the organic form extends beyond the traditional.

Scott Slagerman Work