True freedom is discovery—the ability to wander through that which we wish to know. So rather than focus on a single medium or technique, the WXA100 team, Artem Kuznetsov and Warren Cheng, designs in spurts, producing limited-edition runs of vastly different products. Their openness to possibility is evident in the Vancouver design duo’s first two offerings: a necklace and a notebook. In creation, aesthetic, and use, the two could not be more different, linked together only by their makers’ love of exploration in function and aesthetic.
Each product is handcrafted in a run of 100, every piece created separately, making each unique; after 100 are made, the series is discontinued and it is on to the next. “We [want] to produce projects that are tactile and that people will use; we don’t want to make art, we don’t want to make something people will put down and just look at,” says Kuznetsov. “We want people to keep and touch and develop a personal connection with [the products]. And if someone is going to have a personal connection with something, we can’t make too many—it has to be limited.”
The necklace series, Dimension, released in 2014, featured a pendant of white resin and repurposed walnut; WXA100 envisioned the pieces as an embodiment of our city of rain. Ampersand and Binary, launched in April, is comprised of hand-bound notebooks with one-of-a-kind marbled paint covers. The technique of paint marbling involves placing ink on top of a mixture made of water and a thickening agent; the paints on the surface are dotted and swirled into patterns and designs and then transferred, almost magically, onto paper or fabric that is laid on top. Due to the transparency of the solution, the results of the creation are essentially unknown until it is shifted to the solid material. “It’s like a controlled-uncontrolled type of media,” Kuznetsov explains. “You definitely have some control over where the ink goes, but in the end you don’t know how it’s going to react with the water and spread.”
Kuznetsov and Cheng met while studying at Emily Carr, developing camaraderie over a joint passion for honing their skills by encountering different systems and procedures. “We want to keep it kind of like short bursts of energy, short bursts of projects,” Kuznetsov explains. By creating products rooted in utility, WXA100 brings a heightened sense of beauty to everyday life, tightening the space between object and art.
UPDATE, November 2018: WXA100 has ceased operations.
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