London-based designer and British bone china specialist Richard Brendon has been developing a number of studio collaborations with Patternity, a specialist organization dedicated solely to pattern, the latest being a bone china collection with the British traditional luxury homeware shop Fortnum & Mason. Resulting from Brendon’s dream of rejuvenating and repositioning the British bone china industry, the collection warps perceptions of what bone china can look like, featuring a precise, pure geometric pattern in Fortnum & Mason’s signature delicate color Eau de Nil, and are available for purchase. Born from a drive to use pattern as a tool to inspire, explore and innovate, Patternity comprises a pattern research/consultancy department, a pioneering events and education hub, and an award-winning creative studio, frequently developing collaborations with designers on a number of different fashion, interior, and product design projects.
South Korean artist Yoon Sol has produced a wonderful ceramic series titled From the Archetype, which involves layering porcelain in thin sheets to create different shapes. He writes: I work from a sphere to produce thin layers of bowl shaped elements with different diameters and heights. If these layers are placed one by one, small and big bowls can form an installation piece. From the Archetype tells a story of building up imperfection status through decomposition of a typical and perfect image, and of seeking the right pieces to complete my own pictorial puzzle. Here, Yoon Sol beautifully demonstrates the limitless of variation spawned from a single shape, resulting in a flawless collection of simple white ceramics that go beyond the aesthetics.
French artist Nathalie Dérouet lives and works in Douarnenez, north-western France. From her ceramics workshop, she creates a range of exceptional porcelain pieces, including unique bowls, vases, pots and various containers, all of which embrace open space. Highlighting a few favourites from Dérouet’s many ceramic creations, it’s clear the inspiration behind these pieces are taken from Chinese and Japanese ceramics, countries where refinement and sophistication are present in many everyday objects, reflecting tradition and modernity. It’s the purity and simplicity of these extremely thin designs that appeal to me most. The smooth surfaces and uniqueness of each piece makes for certain wish-listing.
Taizo Kuroda’s pure white Ceramics collection is an inspired by-product of his close relationship with fellow Japanese artisans; architect Tadao Ando, designer Issay Miyake and photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. They share the same sure discipline and taste in editing out all that is unnecessary. I am in awe, and filled with jealousy, of this association with such a collective muse. Ando describes Taizo Kuroda’s aesthetic, and dedication to pure white, to reflect the colour of his spirit in the unceasing pursuit of truth. I have an immense appreciation for the subtlety of this truth, and the beauty in the un-ornate. I find this bare-ness creates a sense of illumination in the materiality of the ceramic itself. The colour is described as a warm, milky white – something akin to that of Greek island houses seen in the Cycladic light of late afternoon – a magical colour that makes his ceramic wares seem to softly glow. I couldn’t agree more. The Ceramics collection is a fusion of forms that depart radically from the cold, technically perfect, moulded porcelains associated with Arita, Kakiemon and Nadeshima; the result being an almost accident of perfectly fused shapes and sharp considered lines. These embody the beauty...
Designed in Japan in 2008 by Shinichiro Ogata of SIMPLICITY. Wasara is made out of 100% tree-free renewable materials (sugar cane fiber, bamboo, and reed pulp) and all Wasara products are biodegradable and compostable. The pieces are usable for both cold and hot food and are also oil and water resistant. They are extremely pleasant to touch and equally feel solid during use. Their soft, simple lines embody elegance and speak the language of minimal design. Here, the notion of paper plate is taken to a new level. I love the aesthetic pleasing sensibility of serving meals on visually engaging piece.
It was such a treat coming across industrial designer Julie Richoz’s project titled Thalie. The seductive forms, each composed of a frame made of spring steel, were cut to resemble a plate, a fruit bowl and a bread basket. Only a very fine piece of metal wire secures each piece together, the structure of the frame comes together fluidly, revealing the beauty of how minimalistic the concept is. Inspired by handcrafts like crochet or knitting, I approximated the characteristic of the metal sheet close to a textile quality. The chemical etching allowed to cut a sheet of spring steel in a very precise and fine manner in order to produce my patterns. To learn that this project was exhibited at the 7th annual Design Parade in Hyères, France this year, and that it was not a(nother) 3D rendering, is extremely gratifying.
Today I would like to highlight the work of Pigeon Toe ceramics studio based in Industrial North Portland, Oregon. Founded four years ago by Lisa Jones, the studio has already gained a following of enthusiasts, who appreciate beauty of a craft and embrace not only the finished product but the story of a maker behind the product as well. Calling themselves a “creative evolution” Pigeon Toe’s refined selection, hand-touch within each piece and genuine passion for the making is obvious by first glance at their site. To see more of the process, watch this video. Pigeon Toeʼs aspiration is simple: to provide mankind with everyday beauty. Highly curated and refined, each piece is culled from skilled hands, trained minds and inspired hearts. Our designs are naturally imperfect, casually irreverent and playfully charming. Each piece is treasured. Beautiful. Authentically hand-crafted. I’m drawn to the simple lines of their collections and appreciate the playful approach to incorporate colors within some. Minimal design with lots of passion and love.
Roger Arquer’s charming designs challenge the iconic image of the fish bowl. The attractive bowls come in fifteen different varieties which serve to personify the fish within. The bowls speak to the prescribed personality traits of pet fish. “Do Not Piss Me Off” describes the human power to decide between the life and death of the fish with a symbolic drain plug. “Suicidal Tendencies” is a bowl that prevents unhappy fish from jumping out. “Private Matters” provides an opaque area for fish who are tired of living in glass houses. “Above Water” lets your fish share its water with the plant above. The designs are elegantly simple, sometimes so subtle that it is necessary to look twice to see what alteration has been made to the classic fish bowl. Yet the simplicity of the physical bowl in no way translates to simplicity of ideas. Richard Arquer has managed to say so much about our most overlooked pets with a perfectly minimal design. The bowls provide an endearing twist to the typical fish home. Now your little pet can have a silly, sarcastic, or playful little personality!
Without friends where would we be? My good friend Sonia of Area22 dropped us a line about Silva/Bradshaw, a small design studio based in Brooklyn, New York. Apparently, they have something good to offer – and yes they do! Silva/Bradshaw, founded in 2010, is the combination of Sergio Silva and Matthew Bradshaw. Their portfolio spans furniture, jewelry and industrial design – and they’re also working on the design and branding of a restaurant. As wide as their focus is, I’m impressed by the elegance and freshness of throughout their work. It’s just a pleasure to look at, isn’t it?! (Pssst, they actually sell their jewelry online – and it’s quite affordable!)
Fruit bowl Hug must be one of the most minimalist concepts I have seen in a while. It has reduced the fruit bowl to its most basic fuction: holding the fruit in its place. The bottomless Hug was designed by Elizabeth Cordes when she worked as a product designer at DESU Design. Cordes left DESU a while back and is currently self-employed. There is just one problem though: how should I move my fruit?
As fine and smooth as egg shells, these bone china bowls and tea lights from British designer Caroline Swift are paper thin, beautifully translucent, yet incredibly strong. Each piece is unashamedly unique in shape and form, as they are all hand-crafted by Swift herself. All the items for sale reflect her philosophy of ‘slow design‘, where a sense of pleasure and pride is taken in the production and the quality of the pieces. Swift recently moved to Barcelona – I’m eager to see how her new environment will inspire her!
The archetype of a bowl: a half sphere. Problem with half spheres: they tip over. That’s why we usually add a rim to the bottom, of flatten the base. This bronze bowl by John Pawson, the famous minimalist architect, is that perfect hemisphere. No flatness on the base that disrupts the smooth curve of the profile – but this bowl can still sit perfectly upright or slightly tilted. This is all thanks to an entirely invisible but no less fundamental second material: sand, contained within the double walls of the bowl. Pawson made his perfect bowl as part of a series of ’5 Objects’ for When Objects Work.