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Of a Kind + Chen Chen & Kai Williams

Fruit-shaped cement planters produced in a limited edition by the experimental design duo

by Nara Shin in Design on 26 February 2014

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Champion of creating limited-edition goods with independent designers, and the antithesis to flash sale sites, Of a Kind recently gave us a sneak peek of its latest creation, which highlights the work of Brooklyn-based experimental design duo Chen Chen and Kai Williams. A CH favorite, Chen and Williams are known for playing with materials to create functional art pieces, whether its melding found objects and rocks into DIY bookends or multicolored carpets and coasters that look like a cross-section of something vaguely edible. For their Of a Kind collection, the designers present a range of fruit-shaped cement planters.

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Handmade in Brooklyn, the planters are crafted from cement, latex primer and acrylic paint, resulting in rock-hard pineapples, cantaloupes and avocados that will never ripen—or rot for that matter. "The first Chen and Kai pieces that caught our attention were their beautiful stone bangles," Of a Kind co-founder Claire Mazur tells CH. "I had had my eye on them because of those, but when we saw the fruit planters at the NY NOW trade show last year, I knew we had to figure out a way to sell them on Of a Kind. We've been exploring doing more home decor pieces on the site and these felt really right for us and our audience—they're beautiful and practical but also so delightfully clever and conceptual."

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"There's something about seeing a plant grow out of a piece of fruit that's very fantasy world to me—like it should be a prop in Alice in Wonderland," Mazur continues. "Working with them on these was fascinating because they cast the planters from real pieces of fruit, so there are all sorts of production issues that you don't think about—like if it's possible to find enough pineapples of the right shape and size to fulfill the order. And it turns out the avocados are more of a challenge because they don't always hold their shape so well during the casting process."

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While Chen Chen & Kai Williams have done different colored versions of their fruit planters before (they've also dabbled in other fruits like horned melon), for this collection they'll appear in white for the first time. "The combo of latex and acrylic makes the white pop and gives them a nice texture that's different from their original versions," says Mazur. Plus, you'll never have to worry about them growing mold.

The Chen Chen & Kai Williams planters go on sale tomorrow, 27 February 2014, and the entire trio will retail for $80 from Of a Kind. Per the platform's mission of keeping things unique, only 50 sets "of a kind" will be sold; sign up for their newsletter to be alerted as soon as the planters, and future editions, are released.

Images courtesy of Of a Kind

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