- Léa & Nicolas
In between the fingers, a mass of soil is sitting and waiting on a turntable, damped with glistening water. The brown colour seeps through gaps of the hands, turning every skin cell its same appearance as the sculptor starts to caress it with his touch. The turntable’s rotational force starts to increase and a spherical volume is slowly formed, then transformed into a hollow vessel over time. His touch, still delicate, holds the rim of the vessel with a soft elegance. Creases running and turning continuously, the sculptor begins to slow down his motion as the piece expands upwards. Carefully, he uses a thin line of white thread to cut through the mass, separating the object and its leftover material, which is still sitting quietly on the turntable.
The process of forming a ceramic product is a traditional course of action, especially through the medium of clay. This global material can be found in many regions across the globe, yet they hold individual traits that speak of their origins. In Montreal, Léa & Nicolas utilises this material as a way to express their unyielding freedom through rough and sandy surfaces. Unglazed and occasionally polished, these earthenwares become a signature of the Canadian design studio, in relation to their geographical location. Using their backgrounds in arts, multimedia, and architecture, the founders find themselves amidst a multidisciplinary practice where experimentations can occur.
Unruly, the ceramic products of Léa & Nicolas are often peculiar in the way that a detail is seemingly dislocated. While the main mass serves its functional purpose, the insertion of a facade modification creates a draw for attention. Théière ave manche—Teapot with side handle—is easily recognised with its distinctive bar handle and protruding mouth. However, the oversized lid becomes an object that vies for thoughts. With its concaving glazed white stoneware surface, it poses a question about use. Then a simple gesture of removal turns it into a wide tea cup and upon returning to its original position, the volume is stacked eccentrically.
Other uncommon products, such as Tea filter made with an array of punctures and a monument-like Fermentation crock contribute to a series of whimsical art objects. These homewares serve as contemporary devices that initiate usage, not vice versa: they almost force onlookers to touch, use, and experience. Every use of generous curves provokes a satisfying sensuality, only to be balanced out with geometric forms. The minimalist outcome is a tension between freedom and restraint.
Touches of the hands. Movements in circular repetition. A pinch. A roll. Lifts for expansion. Presses for indentations. The endless assemblage of design decisions is uncountable yet a sense of curation can clearly be seen here. Therefore, the aforementioned unruliness is a controlled effort—not a total freedom—of Léa & Nicolas that’s unseen but very apparent.