Chimera by Shai Langen

Shai Langen

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- story by MaterialDistrict

Simultaneously organic and synthetic, the Chimera collection by Shai Langen is made from latex materials that have been transformed through the emulsifying reaction of latex and calcium nitrate. Malleable to the body and featuring detailed, fungi-like cellular structures, these materials offer unique inspiration for fashion/costume design, product design and interior architecture –  to name just a few applications.

As a material, calcium nitrate is commonly used in the balloon, latex glove and condom industries to create a uniform film of latex around a mold. The molds are first dipped in both water and calcium nitrate before being dipping into liquid latex.

This material collection is the result of Langen experimenting with the shapes that form by dripping latex into the emulsion of water and by changing the viscosity of both the latex and the emulsion – resulting in some very different material outcomes.

Considerable experimentation was required to find the right production method for each original creation as the material itself is very sensitive to numerous factors, such as the ratio of calcium nitrate to water, the drying process, water surface tension, etc. Each piece of the collection demands a different thickness of latex as well as a different technique of dripping.

You can watch a stunning video of these materials and their sources of inspiration here.

The work of Shai Langen will also be featured at Dutch Design Design Week 2014 and you can find out more about his creative process and Chimera here.

Material Properties