Chen Chen & Kai Williams is a design studio that explores materials and new ways to use them. The studio invents new techniques and materials or takes common industrial supplies and develops off-label applications.
Chen Chen and Kai Williams met while attending the Pratt Institute and founded the company in New York City in 2011. The studio creates a wide range of products from one-off and limited production collectible works to specialty commercial goods.
Past clients include Whitney Museum, Gagosian, Kvadrat and Mission Chinese Food. Presentations of their work have been held at the Museum of Art and Design (USA) and the Venice Architecture Biennale (Italy). Manufacturing partners include Tai Ping Carpets, Areaware and Good Thing.
Most designs begin with a napkin sketch of what the object will look like, the major features of the silhouette. Our practice is based in material exploration and this design process works in the inverse. We don’t know what it will look like until the end step. This process also creates an ecosystem of materials that generate the next designs. Our talk will outline our materials based design process and how products are generated from this process.