These Gorgeous Vases Are Made Of The World’s Homeliest Material

Just because a material is cheap doesn’t mean it can’t be high design. At this year’s Salone furniture fair in Milan, Japanese designed Kodai Iwamoto is displaying a set of vases made from plastic pipes you could buy at any hardware store.

But you wouldn’t know that was the material by looking at them. The vases, part of Iwamoto’s “plastic blowing project,” would be at home in the MoMA design store. To create them, Iwamoto uses an old-school glass-blowing technique, but applies it to plastic. He creates different shapes of molds, puts the plastic pipe inside, and then slowly heats the pipe while increasing the air pressure. Because the pipe’s ends are closed off, the plastic begins to deform, expanding to fill the mold and creating bulbous, ribbed vases.

[Photo: courtesy Kodai Iwamoto]“Even though it’s a mass-produced and cheap material, I believe that the hand-making process gives the pipe a new value by transforming it into a well-made object,” Iwamoto writes about the project in a statement.

Conceptually, the plastic blowing project is similar to Dutch designer Klaas Kluiken’s blown wine bottle vases, in which the designer used a mix of traditional glass-blowing methods and modern techniques he invented.

The vases will be shown at the exhibition Ex-portation, which focuses on the work of Japanese designers. They don’t yet have a price, and Iwamoto says he will focus on selling them after the exhibition ends.KS