The Dwell 24: Studio Kae

For Zhekai Zhang and Keren Wang, the pair behind Studio Kae, imperfection is often the desired outcome.

Zhekai Zhang and Keren Wang, the pair behind Studio Kae, are guided by, but not strictly bound to, tradition in their porcelain, furniture, and other objects.

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"Our products are tapping into the potential of the material," says Wang, who met Zhang at London’s Royal College of Art, from which they both graduated in 2018. "We like to play with it, to show its natural beauty, even if it isn’t perfect."

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In fact, imperfection is often the desired outcome, resulting from chance-driven processes that upend the notion of consistency in mass production. For Fabric Formula #1, Zhang lined ceramic molds with cloth, which imparted texture to the surfaces of teacups and pitchers and made the rigid forms appear soft.

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The formal experiment is taken further in Fabric Formula #2, a series of plastic stools in which the fabric is both the mold and the surface of each piece. "Making one object look like another," says Zhang, "is, for us, very beautiful."

Read the full Q&A with Zhekai Zhang below.

Hometown: Ningbo, China

Describe what you make in 140 characters. I am a young product designer dedicated to bringing new insights into home products with innovative processes and sustainable materials.

What’s the last thing you designed? A sofa.

Do you have a daily creative ritual? No.

How do you procrastinate? We believe deadlines are the primary productive force.

What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? Plates. We can see almost all plates are the same form, which is disc-shaped.

Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? My father.

What skill would you most like to learn? Foreign language.

What is your most treasured possession? Family and knowledge.

What’s your earliest memory of an encounter with design? Going to the MUJI shop for the first time.

What contemporary design trend do you despise? Neotenic design.

Finish this statement: All design should... be durable.

What’s in your dream house? My dream house is clean and close to the lake with good sunlight.

How can the design world be more inclusive? Design with non-human centralism.

What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry? The design and making process.

You can learn more about Studio Kae on their Instagram.

View the 2022 Dwell 24!




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