Swell Vase

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Swell Vase
CK-Swell WHI 04.jpg
Design Year: 2011
Dimensions: polyurethane foam, spandex, glass, rubber, rope
Materials: Studio Produced

Swell Vase is a decorative vessel made of expanding polyurethane foam pushing out of a spandex net. A coating of rubberized paint protects the foam from UV damage and a glass liner inside allows the vase to hold water. Each piece is unique due to the process of production.

The vase was originally designed in 2011 by Chen Chen and sold through Moss. In 2016 an edition of 8 solid black vases were produced for "Of Cabinets and Curiosities" at Chamber Gallery.


A drawstring is woven through the holes around the edge of a piece of spandex netting so that when drawn tight, it can cinch around a cylindrical glass vessel. Polyurethane foam is injected between the glass and the netting. The foam expands and pushes the netting outwards and at the stretched limit of the netting, the holes in the netting act like an extrusion die, allowing some foam to pass through.


Polyurethane foam will degrade and crumble under prolonged exposure to UV radiation. A layer of rubberized paint is sprayed over the vase to protect the foam. Solid coats can be done but applications of multiple light dusting layers of paint can achieve a coating only on the foam parts, leaving the spandex color intact. This effect is due to the convex shape of the extruded foam while the spandex netting is recessed.