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"porcelain" Tag

“Traditionel Japanese way, but with a strong european perspective”: Nederlandse trots

Monday, May 27, 2013

The other day I went to „the Frozen Fountain“ to look at the tableware and furniture from Scholten & Baijings. The dutch-designer-duo is famous for its minimalist – but still detailled – designs. They produce furniture, hometextils, various objects and tableware.


When you walk in the shop at the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam, you enter a fairy-tale world full of beautiful things. Every time I’m there, I imagine how it would feel to own a house with all these beautiful things in it. From the large selection that is exhibited, I‘m particularly fascinated by the products of Scholten & Baijings. At first glance, they seem quite banal. But if you‘ll look closer, you‘ll discover a lot of charming little details, an unusual handling of materials and a eye catching play of color. Scholten & Baijings work since many years with the owners of „the Frozen Fountain.“ Their cooperation has enabled quite a few product launches and contributed to the renow of the dutch designer couple.


Scholten and Baijings products are characterized by their minimalistic design, their striking forms and their handsigned colours. But what I like best about their work is the fact, that you can feel the craftmanship behind every object. Their products, regardless of whether their dishes, their „vegetables“ or their furniture, reflect their way of working: To imprint their very own stamp on a product, they first dismantle a common object, they peel it like an onion and then rebuild it based on their own vision, layer by layer, and with their personal signature.


Although they work – as they say – in an intuitive way, start with a sketch, make a model on which they can experiment as long as necessary before converting it into the finished product, they never work only „from the gut“, but always enrich their work with thorough research. During this whole process – the two call it “atelier way of working” – the product is continuously developed.


 “Colour Porcelain” – Scholten & Baijings, 2012

You can see and feel this process in every object by Scholten & Baijings. Wheter in their interpretation of the „MINI one“, which they showed at the Milan Design week in 2012. Or in their „vegetables“, which they produced from A-Z in their own atelier. For those very realistic objects made of textile, they did everything by hand, dying the fabrics, forming the shapes with threads, stichting in details, with one purpose: To see whether the intencity of the work changes if everything is produce inhouse. For me, those vegetables do not only look good enough to eat, they also carry a soul – a soul that were breathed into them during the intense and intimate work process.


The same goes for their tableware, which are my favorites: The pieces of the „Total Table Design“ collection look as they were made from cardboard, even though they are from porcelain. To achieve this result, Scholten & Baijings started their research with paper. They folded, cutted and worked as long with the bendable material, until the found the desired shape – and the wanted effect: The collection plays with the ephemeral cardboard fragility.



“Paper Porcelain” – Scholten & Baijings, 2010


To reinforce this impression, they used the Japanes porcelain from the firm 1616/Arita for the production. The name says a lot about the history of this manufacture: 1616 stands for the year, when they were founded and Arita is the name of the city, where they come from and still are. Scholten and Baijings met the pepole of 1616/Arita in Milan, where they showed the Dutch duo a piece of raw porcelain, which they liked because of its grey-white color.  After this initial contact, they deepened their research of the porcelain from Arista, first with books and then with a trip to Kyoto. They stayed in a house in the mountains, where they realised first designs, which they perfected back in the Netherlands. In the course of this development, they discovered that the porcelain from Arita was exported to Europe extensively from the port of Imari/Saga, between the second half of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century. For Scholten and Baijings this fact closes a circle:“Our tableware is made in a typical and traditionel Japanese way, but with a strong european perspective.“


Traditional Japanese Arita Porcelain


“Delfter Porzellan”

So when I drink my coffee out of a cup by Scholten and Baijings, I do not only hold a beautiful piece of design in my hand, but also a piece of history: In a wider sense a piece of cultural history and in a more personal sense a piece that tells me the story of the journey of two designers, who are constantly exploring their craftmanschip-limits. The coffee out of a Scholten & Baijing cup taste very very good!


Saturday, May 25, 2013



Could craft be seen as art, or the other way round? Is it even possible to combine these two?
According to the broad work of Piet Stockmans, the answer seems to be clear. 

Pieter Stockmans is a well experienced ceramist, born in 1940. He worked for the Royal Mosa Maastricht, taught at the art academy Genk and the Design Academy at Eindhoven. From 1989 he started to work as a freelancer, which he is still doing these days. Al the work he makes, is a signature for himself. Piet is devoted to his work, and this devotion/passion is what brought him to the level he is working on now, you could almost say he is obsessed with the material so he knows the qualities of it. He searches for the essence, the edge in his designs, in material, and in function of the object after this, the material became the way of expressing himself. He thinks from the possibilities that the china is giving him. Not only the possibilities, but also limitations are an inspiration.




His tableware is an experience, its light, thin, sophisticated, fragile, beautiful, elegant, clean and minimalistic. A cup becomes something more than just a holder for your drinks, as soon as you touch it, you feel the fragility, and the almost sharp edge on your lips. Next to his spotless tableware he also has other projects, he exposes his work in several museum, does projects for public spaces, he designed the tableware for the prince of Monaco for instance, he sells fabricated works in stores and still does handmade. Just recently he cooperated with star restaurants and master-chefs. This collaboration was very valuable for both of the parties. The plate should be a compliment to the dish, it should replenish each other. Instead of just being an tasteful dish and a nice designed plate. These two things come and work together. With this kind of corporation you clearly can see that Piet changed the approach, of something we take for granted as an everyday routine, into a certain appreciation.





Is Piet Stockmans an artist, a designer or an ceramist? And according to the Boymans van Beuningen ‘handmade’ exposition, what is his relation to that? 

He strives for authenticity in his work, that is of main importance and also he tries not to loose himself in the technical advantages of nowadays so we can label him as authentic. What is it, that his work expresses. Piet is searching for new possibilities and challenges which is important. His approach towards his own work is very artistic. It becomes autonomous. What I found also interesting about it, is that how far can you go if we talk about art and design. With his tableware, is it not art because it has a proper function? Does art have a function? In his philosophy comes forward his way of dealing with a process or way of thinking. In which, hopefully, we all can recognize ourselves.


His philosophy,

“Creation is founded on doing, not thinking;
the act of making, brings forth ideas which in their turn give rise to other ideas;
gradually, along the way, strange as it may seem, decisive choices are made.
Like the automatism of the plowing farmer,
or the habit of prayer,
or the recital of mantras,
or else the repetition of an everyday gesture.
It is a search for simplicity, for calm, for physical well-being.”
Piet Stockmans 


For the outside world it can be hard to define the work of Piet, because you can organize his work in three parts, artistic, craft and industrial. For Piet himself those lines are thinner then we are experiencing it, he is continuously moving between them without any distinction from each other. The things is when he is designing for an tableware project it can inspire him for any kind of new work: the evidence that each part is closely related. I think we have to take in account what the artist is trying to say with his works, what is the purpose? What is the thought behind it? What is the artist willing to express? And last but not least how does Piet think about it himself? He says, “I am a designer,  because doing one artwork doesn’t make you an artist” which is true. I find this a modest profiling. In case of Piet Stockmans, I think if we not divide his work in several segments, and see it as one, Piet is in my eyes definitely an artist, and also a designer and also a ceramist.


Interview Piet Stockmans (in Dutch)

Use Designblog TravelTags

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Visit all “50TravelTags”


from the Designblog tag-list.


browse mapping by Maria Micheva

It is not easy to navigate in the design world, let alone Designblog.
The 979 postings and over 2000 keywords turn it into a subjective maze. How are you going to find an entrance to amazing stories and surprising opinions. In-depth interviews and downloadable theses and research papers.
Before you know it, you turn from user to participant of a universe that sucks you in or swings you out.

browse mapping by Severin Bunse

Students from A group decided to help you along by browsing the blog for you. Becoming your guides, in a manner of speaking. Creating new tags that can serve as “Travel Tags”. [invention, ice-cold, climate, crisis, fun, erudition, rules, gravity, convention, removable, purple, symbol, social-talk, audio-zine, similarities, mode, funny-story, flexibility, women, do-it-yourself, icon, sharing, interpretation, role, masterpiece, travel, imagination, slowMe, play, peaceful-living, mystery, sexuality, reflector, 0-dimension, no-comment, theater, ideology, dress, sharing, hidden, art-of propaganda, dependency, break-up, sign, young, pulling-pushing, conditional, breakfast, porcelain, Norwegian-mythology]-tt. You can look them up in Designblog’s tag-list, under [50-TravelTags].

browse mapping by Anouk Buntsma

Browsing surely illustrates that Designblog can become a true Pandora’s box. On the TravelTag poster, which was printed on this occasion, you can see a selection of their journeys in the form of ‘browse-maps’. Visualizations of their browsing history. These visual sketches show clearly that browsing through the blog leaves a clear individual trace. No person experiences it the same way. The blog creates –by design– a colored travel experience that synchronizes with your personal taste and ambition.

Nature at Home

Thursday, May 22, 2008

porseleinebordThe Alfred Meakin plates I own, are like most of my belongings, second hand. I got these plates because the over organic and curly pattern looked beautiful and at the same time so fake and corny to me. I always enjoy this friction in things I own

These plates, like most Meakins are inspired, by nature not just in its patterns but also in the shape. They were not made anymore after 1937 and still, all modern Meakin plates, and also most porcelain, are in a nature theme. I find it interesting that throughout history one thing has not changed and that is the urge to recreate nature, even out of something as lifeless as porcelain, while at the same time bending real nature to our desires. Creating things that have a beauty like nature and that are at the same time cold and fake. This friction that works both ways is what really grabs me.

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