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.
This beautiful bone china coffee cup was designed by Hannah Morrow, an English designer living in LA. The bone china is super thin – almost see-through. The cup is part of her Hedy collection, which consists of just three items: a coffee cup, a small vase, and a medium-sized bowl. Morrow herself calls the collection: [...] a celebration of the ceramic tradition of handmade fine bone china. It brings a beauty to each piece that is deceptively simple.
This ceramic serie of five ornaments is from Dick van Hoff which he has made is collaboration with Royal Tichelaar Makkum in the Netherlands. He decided to make some practical desk products instead of traditional living room or dinner table products. The outcome was the series Work: two table lamps, a clock, a vase and a pen-tray. The pieces are made in a functional blend of wood and ceramics. Without the wooden structures the products would actually be highly unpractical.