The first issue of the annual magazine that promotes know-how and technique in design, craft or industry, dedicated to molding.
Moulding is a technique that has existed for thousands of years. Over the centuries, moulding has evolved, enriched by new expertise and technical progress. Its uses have been diversified across in all areas of production, both artistic and industrial.
From the very first prehistoric stone and metal castings (used to cast arrows and tools - one of the oldest forms of a mould as yet identified), to reproductions of sacred statuary and decorative art, moulding has gradually branched out towards aesthetics. The first use of natural, or live, casting has been traced to pharaonic Egypt. Death masks were made to capture an exact likeness of the face in order to produce objects for religious worship. During the Renaissance, castle construction and embellishment were the driving forces behind a number of technological innovations. This era witnessed a turning point in terms of casting: bronze and plaster sculptural reproductions from stone and wood originals proliferated, and a vigorous search for new casting materials, expertise and applications was at its height. In the 19th century, live model casting became increasingly popular. In addition to artistic uses, the technique proved instrumental for a number of scientific fields including botany, medicine and ethnology. Until this point, moulding had been predominantly used to fulfil very specific needs. It was a technique limited to small-scale production by expert craftsmen, or used in small quantities for scientific research, mortuary cults, and a number of artistic purposes. This changed completely with the advent of the Industrial Revolution. Moulding was Tools reinvented as a mass production technique for utilitarian purposes. It made it possible to quickly mass-produce objects, even large objects. As the world experienced a complete technological transformation, moulding became the most profitable production technique.
Although casting techniques were perfected for mass weapon production, moulding truly came into its own during the post-war period and the 1950s. New inventions, car designs and affordable materials became part of everyday middle-class life. Plastic appeared, and suddenly everyone could have their own Tupperware. It was an era of overproduction, overconsumption and global economic growth that soon spiralled out of control, only to eventually reach its limits.
Now at the dawn of the 21st century, the generations of today are aware of the damage caused by mass-production. There is a concerted effort for a rationalised and intelligent approach to moulding. This is particularly visible in industry and new innovative processes: using technology, companies are only producing exactly what they need, making optimised parts and economising raw materials.
Given the rising significance of this approach and the current global context, moulding jas been choosen as the theme for this first issue. Bringing together articles on history, on-site factory and photo features, and in-depth investigations of specific skills, Tools aims to be informative and accessible to everyone. It explores a specific technique and its evolution over time, with the idea of improving contemporary practice.
Tools magazine is the brainchild of Clémentine Berry, who also founded the Twice art direction studio in Paris. This annual publication aims to simultaneously promote and investigate the details of manufacturing techniques and expertise used in art, design, interior architecture, industry and trade. Each issue focuses on a particular technique (moulding, folding, etc.), and the theme is used to select feature subjects and pieces, as well as the persons interviewed. Tools is crafted as a comprehensive inventory of design techniques. Weaving together past and present, it draws on history to illustrate how techniques have been handed down through the ages, paying homage to the creators behind the cult objects we use in our everyday lives, and whose work embodies the stories that lie at the very genesis of our shared human ingenuity.