About this work
The Wood Casting™ pieces are the signature collection of Hilla Shamia Design Studio.
They exhibit a unique combination between two materials, using a completely new
technology, to create a perfect balance between a natural resource and an industrial
Shamia first started working with this unique technology of casting metal into wood in
2012, as part of her final project in the Department of Industrial Design in Holon
Institute of Technology. Her initial thought and obsession were the connection made
between two materials, without any mediating factor, as well as the contrast between two
very different substances.
Wood Casting™ involves the use of whole tree trunks of mostly local trees. The wood is
cut up lengthwise and inserted into a mold, which defines the furniture’s frame and legs.
The metal is then poured over the wood. The casting process is like a drama,
accompanied by high heat, flames and smoke.
This drama produces a third material – the coal. The charcoaled strip functions as a line
drawn in the meeting point between the two materials, delineating and separating
between them. The merging outlines of the materials provide evidence of the leaking
aluminum and the carbonization of the wood, maintaining a sense of flow even when the
two materials are forever frozen.
The Wood Casting™ pieces demonstrate a perfect balance between two contrasting
materials. Wood is an organic material, which echoes a sense of warmth, heaviness and
delicateness. Metal, on the other hand, is very durable and strong, and is characterized
by a sense of industriality, coldness and lightness. Its silver-bluish color contradicts the
warm and earthly colors of the wood. The combination of the two is very common in the
furniture industry, but the special technology of casting metal into wood allows the
formation of completely new connections and geometrical adjournments between the
The geometrical shape of the piece sets clear boundaries to the natural form of the wood
and enhances the overall sense of artificiality, but nevertheless the memory of the
organic material and shape is present. Each material is granted the respect it deserves,
and fully expresses its natural qualities. The aluminum is strong, and therefore functions
as a constructive structure. The delicate and noble wood is elevated to the top by the
aluminum, and functions as a surface, supporting the body and touching the skin.
In this encounter, the element of fire is transformed from a negative process to a
productive creation, with its own aesthetical and sensual values. Shamia is highly
interested in the concept of imperfect objects, which facilitate a stronger emotional
connection. The starting point for her deigns is nature, which is full of seemingly
imperfect, unpredictable processes from which creativity emerges. In the Wood
Casting™ pieces, the defects of the wood – its cracks, wounds and scars, as well as its
process of burning – become a positive and desirable aspect.
Like in nature, each final product is unique. No two pieces of Wood Casting™ are
identical, due to the production process, in which the mold is broken down. The
incompleteness and randomness give the product its aesthetic value. As in nature, the
processes are exposed, but still the results are surprising, each time new.