Gerrit Rietveld Academy graduate Jurrijn Huffenreuter's Blocks is a modular plaster mold system which can produce an infinite number of ceramic products.
"Traditionally, the production of ceramics is a very rigid system: one mold is used to produce one product. Blocks is a modular plaster mold system which can produce an infinite amount of ceramic products." says Huffenreuter.
Blocks presents a new direction for craft which the designer calls "Open Craft". The production technique has the advantages of 3D printing but is applied to a craft technique allowing customisation, fast production of unique pieces and and overall flexibility in the ceramic production process.
"The costly and time consuming phases of the traditional ceramic production like model making and mold making can be left out. The project brings the user into the manufacturing process. It intends to provide the tools for involved consumers, who want to participate in the production of their objects."
"Block by block, layer by layer a mold can be constructed on the base surface. During the construction of the mold, the outlines of the end product are designed. The clay slip is poured into the mold. When the excess slip is removed, the blocks can be removed one at a time and what remains is the finished product."
The basic blocks of the system consist of variations on 4 x 4cm cubes. The corner blocks (blocks from which a quarter of a circle, triangle, or square is removed) give detail to the rough pixel-like shapes. "The functional blocks, such as different spouts or a logo, bring the products directly to product scale."
Unlike traditional ceramic production, Blocks can be used as a tool to design objects with different functions in various forms. To illustrate the different possibilities in function the designer created a collection of Blocks products consisting of a clock, jug, a bowl, lamp, two pots, a vase and a tea set.
"The black ceramic cups show the different possibilities in the use of a corner block from which a quarter of a circle is removed. By placing it differently during the construction of a mold the cup changes in function and in use. A cup is the most simple product to produce with the molding system. When the change in placement of blocks is applied to a more complex shape the amount of outcomes is much bigger."
"The form language of the products is a clear result of the mold system. Every product is a reproducible unique piece. The imperfections of the mold parts remain visible in the finished product. This makes it a clear, readable product, showing the moment of creation. If the creator would like to make an object again he only has to stack the blocks around the object to recreate the mold."