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These Alien Sculptures Were Formed With Magnets and Gravity

Jólan van der Wiel uses magnets to create futuristic sculptures that look out of this world.

by Beckett Mufson
Jul 15 2014, 7:30pm

Images via

The last time we checked in with experimental designer Jólan van der Wiel, he was making exquisite furniture with basins full of metallic clay, a few super-powerful electromagnets, and Earth's gravity. His latest project is a stunning progression of the concepts he experimented with in Gravity Stools, using an extrusion process possibly influenced by 3D printing to magnetically transform the material into towering abstract structures.

After pouring the liquid clay through a slim nozzle, van der Wiel implements a giant, hanging electromagnet to shape the substance by drawing it up along the path of the specialized clay's magnetic field. The clay builds on itself, held in place by the invisible force until it solidifies into uncanny (and awesome) shapes. The teeth-like forms almost look too alien to be crafted by human hands, and the series title Dragonstone feels totally on point, given the works' fantastical qualities.

In a short video called Magnetism Meets Architecture, van der Wiel documents the process behind the sculptures:

With this project, van der Wiel is exploring ways to use natural forces for human creation. "I see future potential in the joined cooperative forces of combining technology with natural phenomena," he says on his website. "It is my belief that developing new 'tools' is an important means of inspiration and allows new forms to take shape."

According to an interview with Wired, he sees a future in which magnets are a normal construction tool, just like cranes or even hammers. Instead of building a chair or a table, in the 22nd Century father-son bonding time might revolve around crafting one of these wild magnetic stalagmites instead.

Magnetize your eyes to van der Wiel's complete works over at his portfolio site.

h/t Wired


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