‘Holy Aluminum, Batman!’ might be one of the few phrases that never entered Robin’s catchphrase book, most likely because Michael Young wasn’t to discover his innovative technique for transforming molten aluminium into precious objects for a good 50 years after the caped crusader’s glory days on television. Aluminium is the British-born, Hong Kong-based designer’s signature material. Having produced a vast array of lighting, chairs and other furnishings in the metal, he’s now found a way to, well, put holes in it.
Without getting too technical, suffice it to say that Young has developed a set of steel tools that inject high-temperature gas into molten aluminium, a process that results in a perforated texture similar to that of Swiss cheese. This transformation takes place in what looks like an industrial version of a witch’s cauldron, complete with bubbling potions and psychedelic colours. After a healthy dunking, a large foamlike block of aluminium eventually emerges. Once cooled, it’s ready for the second phase, which takes place in a factory that usually makes mobile-phone cases. This is where colour, either blue or gold, is embedded in the exposed surfaces of the metal. The final result is Young’s Metal Rock Collection and, in this particular case, the 120-kg BC Chair, a product that perfectly embodies his industrial-art ethos.
Photos Justyna Wierzchowiecka, courtesy of Veerle Verbakel Gallery
This project was featured in Frame 112. Find your copy in the Frame store.