Cast Iron - The Rediscovery and Revaluation of a Forgotten Material in Furniture Design

Julia Ribic
Jan Wagemann

Schonlau Werke Maschinenfabrik & Eisengießerei GmbH & Co. KG

September / September - 2022

Kunsthochschule Kassel



The chair “GRAT” is the uncompromising fulfilment of the expectations of cast iron material. Sprue residues, burrs, and grinding marks adorn the raw surface of the seating furniture as relics of sand casting. In contrast to the heaviness of the material, the thin-walled profile of the chair legs pushes the technical possibilities of the forming process to the limit. The distinctive aesthetic of the castings is underlined by the deliberately placed batch numbers and signatures. Because the frame of the slender chair only consists of two different castings, the side part and the connector, it has been optimised for serial production in sand casting. Only after casting is post-processing used to create a left and right side panel. Seats made of oakwood provide a comfortable fit. When the six screws are tightened, the conical spines of the frame press into the solid wood parts. As a result, cast iron and wood form a bond that tells a shared story of opposing materials.