Chris Schanck - Design New York Thursday, June 6, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Catalogue Essay

    The idea for “Alufoil” came to the designer in 2011, at the tail end of graduate school at Cranbrook Academy of Art, located just twenty miles away but worlds apart from his studio today. “Alufoil” began with what were essentially leftovers: scavenged bits of discarded wood, Styrofoam, metal, cast-offs from factory-made furniture. Schanck was looking for a way to bind them together; for them to be seen, he explains, “as a whole, and not parts of other things.” So one day he wrapped them in plain old Reynolds Wrap from the grocery store. It had, he says, “all the material properties of something I was looking for: very immediate and very alien.” But, as Schanck is quick to point out, “It’s not immediate now. It takes thousands of hours.”

    Lightweight yet strong, it is found in everything from architecture to aluminum cans to the auto bodies of Detroit, and elsewhere. Almost endlessly recyclable, nearly seventy-five percent of all aluminum produced is still in use today. As a design choice in furniture, examples throughout the twentieth century abound—from the streamlined styling of the Machine Age, to Charles and Ray Eames’s mid-century classic Aluminum Group chairs, to the fluidity of Marc Newson’s 1988 iconic Lockheed Lounge. Schanck brings a personal history to the material as well. Like many “aha” moments that are seemingly plucked from nowhere, the “Alufoil” technique actually has deep roots. He grew up in Dallas, “in the shadow of the aluminum plant,” he recalls. His father was an aluminum salesman; his older sister worked in the front office; and his older brother managed the anodized aluminum division, which he remembers as being “total alchemy when I was young.” Schanck worked in the factory too, punching parts during his summer breaks. In fact, the foiling in his studio could be thought of as a through-the-looking-glass version of the family tradition.

    -Elizabeth Essner, excerpted from “In the Studio: Chris Schanck,” Metalsmith Magazine, Winter 2018


Unique pair of tables, from the "Alufoil" series

Resin, polystyrene, aluminum foil.
Each: 22 1/2 x 26 1/4 x 26 1/4 in. (57.2 x 66.7 x 66.7 cm),

$4,000 - 6,000 

Sold for $20,000

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New York Auction 6 June 2019