Thinking of the realm of ceramics, objects such as tableware, vases, or sculpture often come to mind. But, what about ceramic furniture? This edit features a selection of tactile, textural, and colourful ceramic furniture from the inventive minds of talented makers. Increasingly prevalent in the last few years, this aspect of contemporary ceramics allows makers the opportunity to further push the boundaries of clay, shifting thoughts from unpredictability and fragility to the potentials of large-scale, functional pieces such as benches, stools, and tables.
Similarly to smaller scale ceramics, a range of experimental methods exist to reinvent these recognisable forms. Some are pressed into moulds or extruded from machines, creating near-perfect forms. For other pieces, the hands-on nature of working with clay highlights the maker’s touch in each piece, with final forms and textures emerging from a relationship between hand and material. In each case, an unexpected play on familiar functions and shapes emerges from this earth-derived material.
This edit of ceramic furniture features the work of Abdallah Al Mulla, BISKT Studio, BNAG, Diego Faivre, Giácomo Tomazzi Studio, Pepa Reverter, stanzanumerotre, Studio Terre, and Theodora Alfredsdottir.
BISKT Studio, “Balik” Bench
By the materials that compose it, the “Balik” Bench is, in essence, both fragile and robust. In this reinterpretation of the seat, Studio Biskt realizes a metal base that, like two river banks, would be linked by an extruded clay junction. Glazed in different shades of colours, “Balik” aspires to the outdoors and evokes, in its composition and possibility of assembly, multiple variations.
Diego Faivre, “Stool Made in 244 Minutes”
Made in Diego Dough, a special type of air-drying clay that remains pliable once dry, the stool is priced according to Faivre’s “Minute Manufacturing” system, whereby every minute of production time costs €2. That means the product’s final price is a direct reflection of the amount of time it took to make it – in this case, 244 minutes.
Giácomo Tomazzi Studio, “Terra Collection – Side Table”
Clay has a primitive nature because it aggregates the four elements: air, fire, earth, and water. The dried clay needs water to become plastic and flexible and the warmth of the hands will shape a shape whose permanence requires the use of fire that will return the air to the atmosphere. The four elements united make us return to the primitive and the forces of mother earth.
Abdallah Al Mulla & Pepa Reverter, “Safeefah x Clay – Stools and Tables”
Produced during the “Crafts Dialogue” initiative by Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, the “Safeefah X Clay” collection consists of clay stools and tables that function as dining furniture and can be stacked to look like a totem pole. The collection, which is a collaboration between Emirati designer Abdallah Al Mulla and Spanish designer Pepa Reverter, pushes the limits of clay design by creating pieces that surpass a diameter of sixty centimetres and a height of one metre.
stanzanumerotre, “Flora” Side Table
The “Flora” Side Table has been coil built in white clay and belongs to the “Flora” series, a series of pieces coming straight from the bottom of the sea. A sea sponge caressed by the tide, a coral made by microorganisms in ages.
Studio Terre, “nucleo”
“nucleo” is a coffee table created in red lombard clay, brown clay, oils, and stucco. It is from the “Maxi” series, which seeks to create more complex stories that live on individual intentions, but reinforce the concept of collective. Studio Terre see a relationship of kinship and affinity between the elements, as in a family.
Theodora Alfredsdottir, “Mould” Ceramic Side Table
A collection of ceramic side tables that explore the possibility of using a single mould to produce unique objects. With a stackable mould, the project studies if achieving uniqueness within a standardised process can add value to the outcome. A mould that consists of 3 parts in shapes based on a square, triangle, and circle which can be stacked differently each time a new piece is made, resulting in all unique pieces.