With its art-inflected approach to design and a spacious workshop in Brooklyn at its disposal, the young design studio Wintercheck Factory has steadily amassed a growing collection of furniture that brings together both supernormal and unconventional materials. Its latest endeavor, 'Collection 400', unexpectedly taps into the unique texture of flexible polyurethane rubber, which has been incorporated into seating, tables and lamps for an effect that is simultaneously familiar and foreign.
‘Increasingly, we’ve been trying to move away from materials that might be considered more traditional,’ says founder Kristen Wintercheck. ‘We decided it would make more sense to develop a variation of the material in-house. During the sourcing and testing period, we found ourselves browsing the rubber section, since they’re typically sold by the same type of store.
'We especially liked this polyurethane rubber that looked and felt like medical tubing, and we started to think about how we could use it as a building material. Every time we showed one of the early rubber samples to someone, their reaction was either amazed or disgusted. It was clear that this material was compelling on a different level.’
Capitalising on the malleable nature of the rubber, 'Collection 400' enabled the studio to explore new forms. The '401 Chair' uses the rubber as a seat cushion for the low-slung chair, made from yellow pine. On the other end of the spectrum, the '403 Floor Lamp' is fully encased in the semi-translucent industrial material and emanates an amber glow when turned on. The '402 Side Table' follows in a similar vein and is cast from a single piece of rubber.
‘We’ve always leaned toward making understated designs that employ an industrial component, but this collection is definitely a leap forward,’ Wintercheck concludes. ‘Our intent is to decontextualise both materials: separating the rubber from its industrial uses, and using wood to construct forms that reject the traditional “maker” look and label. Ultimately, we want to make objects that straddle the line between furniture and sculpture.’