We have huge fun here at ADR!
We are one of the last facilties to actually “Hand Cast” in the USA. These type of artisal jobs all moved to Asia in the 50’s and then to China permanently by the end of the recession. Even with less expensive labor in Asia, the art of hand casting has been lost to the machine injection molding companies.
However here at ADR we can bring in an architectural antique in the morning. Make a plaster mold and a slip mold and by the end of the next business day our finished mold will capture the dust and peeling paint detail from the original for dozens and dozens of exact copies.
Of course we have also made some odd additional casts; a few faces, Robert’s Jobu statue for his baseball good fortune, ancient acanthus leaves for hair ornaments, architectural details for molding or cornices.
Many years ago I started our “BIP” program: “Boycott If Possible” against petrochemical plastics.We had worked to develop specialized bio based casting materials so we did not use petro plastics. My Father, an amazing engineer, was instrumental in the chemistry/ math area. He was in the top .30 per cent of the nation in math in high school. (was I actually left on the doorstep?) Our bio plastics are made from bamboo cellulose (Our “wood style” rings) and the castor oil plant (our hand cast brackets and finials) and we have some rings made from corn cellulose
After a visit to the Frankfurt product design fair in 2002 I originally had to import corn cellulose plastics from Germany even though the corn was grown in the US.
Germany is currently the world leader in eco responsible materials use. After World War 2 Germany was completely trashed by both the Allied bombing and thier own arms and chemical warfare manufacturing. They set up a very disciplined manifesto to rebuild Germany into the pristine country of thier past. Thier water filtration systems and trash requirements are wonderful.
I have always enjoyed the view of all the “green roofs” in Frankfurt, literally wild grass growing on the roofs as both an insulating material and home for wild birds and foraging for bee’s.(We are always big on bee’s!) There are even views of green roofs from the Frankfurt airport if you are just passing thru.
The next time you pick up a finial, hold it in your hand for a moment and feel the weight. Ask yourself “Is this a petrochemical plastic, that will phytodegrade into thousands of tiny carcinogenic pieces in my descendents water supply, food chain or the ocean?”
Or is this finial made responsibly, from a bio based, bio degradable plastic that will last hundreds of years in the right conditions, but turn into an actual food when it is placed with bacteria in a land fill? If it is a product from that slightly obsessed Whitney Walker, you know the answer. We build green.