My interest in melted objects began at the Frieze Art Fair in NYC. Each of the melted art pieces told a story of what they once were. They've undergone a transformation from a previous life, and it is up to the viewer to guess what the original form was.
Each form carries with it an emotion. The melting could be a cheerful story of rebirth, or a sad story of degradation. Each melted object fits within 3 categories: (1) Mystery: the object is hiding its true form. (2) Merging: The object is becoming one with another. (3) Melancholy: The object's form communicates sadness through showing hints of its former glory or a feeling of depression through a slumping, heavy shape.
In photography, Molly Strohl is using melting to show both merging and melancholy. The subject in her work always shows complete loss of hope or a haunting connection with nature .
In sculpture, Livia Marin takes objects that are made to resist heat and transforms them into patterned puddles. The viewer automatically reforms the objects in their mind to what they once were.
Outside the art world the trend is being seen in houseware made by acne.
Fashion adopts the trend in one-of-a-kind items such as melted jewelry and wax tights.
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR BRANDS?
The broader zeitgeist of our time is the age of authenticity. People are drawn to objects that feel truthful, pure, and have stories. Embedded in the nature of every melted object is a past life and story. The unique and random way a melted object transforms is hard to replicate again, making each object feel one-of-a-kind. The interest in melted jewelry, fashion, and houseware speaks to everyone's need to feel unique.
Brands that want to embrace this trend should think of how their products can tell a story through form: 1) What does the shape of the object say about what it use to be? 2) Can we embrace imperfections in the product instead of hide them? 3) How can we use heat to make every product feel unique to its owner?