These twin brothers turned cave formations into freakishly beautiful ceramic pieces

Los Angeles – Twin brothers Nikolai and Simon Haas are highly experimental, imaginative product designers based in Los Angeles. They work with a variety of media, including bronze, marble, ebony and Icelandic sheepskin, on collections that are caracterised by biomorphic forms and strong whiffs of the animal kingdom. The part troll, part-woolly mammoth chairs they produced in 2013 are a case in point – as are the twins’ ventures with ceramic.

The Accretions series, made up of dot upon dot of slip, was inspired by cave formations, which are formed of layer upon layer of calcium. ‘Simon wanted to recreate a process he observed in nature and felt mud or clay was the only way to do it,’ said Nikolai. ‘His curiosity for its physical capability, rather than its craft, is what brought us to ceramics.’

The twins are deeply interested in the potential of natural materials and have even flirted with stone carving in the past. How does ceramic shape up? ‘As stone carvers, we were used to sculpting something and having it exactly what it is as soon as the chisel is set down,’ explained Simon. ‘Ceramics requires planning and patience, and also an acceptance of potential failure. It is beautiful in that way.’

This profile is part of New Wave Clay, our book on ceramic design, art and architecture. You can order a copy here.

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