Steven Haulenbeek Casts Metal in Ice

The young designer borrows from one of the most basic casting techniques to bring his bronze works to the next level.

(Photo: Courtesy Steven Haulenbeek)

“My work is in a constant state of self-discovery,” says Steven Haulenbeek, the latest winner of the American Design Honors from New York’s Wanted Design fair. More specifically, he’s the second-ever winner since the prize’s inauguration in 2015, though the award’s newness certainly does not undermine the shrewd taste of its judges, Wanted Design founders Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat. The Chicago-based designer caught their attention back in 2011, with his inventive “ice casting” technique that he uses for smaller-scale bronze pieces, including vessels and mirror frames. In a variation of the age-old lost wax casting method, the process replaces the plaster mold with carved-out ice blocks, a switch that ultimately gives the surface of the bronzes a ridged, almost bark-like texture. Each piece is one of a kind, much like its imaginative and promising young maker.

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