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Chen Chen & Kai Williams

Chen Chen and Kai Williams are Brooklyn, New York based designers collaborating on avant garde furniture, products, interiors and material design. With a focus on the fluidity of materials and the conversations they can have with space, Chen and Williams have mastered the art of transformation through collections and individual pieces that are both metamorphic and functional in their aesthetic.

Chen Chen & Kai Williams while studying industrial design at Pratt University, and after breaking into individual projects after graduation, Chen at Moss Gallery and Williams at a fabrication studio, the two reconnected and combined work spaces. Their successful joint venture began 2011. With a mutual interest in transformative materials—the duo loves to experiment with ceramics and stone—their dynamic process relies on the ever-changing state of growth and reaction - the end result is eye-catching and visually engaging pieces.

Experimentation with each piece is key to their philosophy, which can be discovered in their Cold Cut Coasters and subsequent rug and textile design. By combining wood, urethane resin, and various other materials, Chen Chen & Kai Williams sliced horizontally through the final log to reveal a “ham hock” cross section design that exposed the colorful, inner visuals and personality of the piece. Designed for holding drinks and each completely unique, the coasters became one of the most popular items produced by the design duo. The collection’s success led to a rug and textile project that mimicked the same visceral patterns found within the coasters.

While a sense of discovery is at the center of their designs - which employ materials that range from stretched spandex elastic to pieces of bone - the heart of their collection is grounded firmly in excellent craftsmanship and found objects. Other popular pieces include their homemade knives made from debris found in and around their Brooklyn studio, and furniture made of spoil board, the typical outcast pieces that designers and studio workers use beneath the piece they are working on. Masters of experimentation, their work moves beyond state of the art and minimalism to include touches of delicacy and true daring.

Chen Chen & Kai Williams’ work has been displayed at Museum of Art and Design, Design Days Dubai, DDays Paris, Philips de Pury, Wright, Gagosian Store, Moss, Matter, The Future Perfect, and the Venice Architecture Biennale and has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, Elle Decoration, Wallpaper*, Sight Unseen, Architectural Digest, Design-Milk, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Chamber and Decor Mag, among many others.
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