Isabell Gatzen and Limoceramics explain us why they design ceramics

Isabell Gatzen, Rosa Bou and Kumi Furio explain us why they design ceramics: yes, the keyword for Pot-Pettas new article is today ceramicsWe already talked about 3D-printed accessories, sand-moulded vases, handmade bags, wood lamps and lamps made by depleted coffee capsules and now it’s time to compare Swiss and Spanish designers who give life to ceramics.

We met Isabell Gatzen (from Zürich) and Rosa Bou and Kumi Furio (from Valencia). The first designer, who founded her own Studio (Studio Isabell Gatzen) in 2010, started working on a varied range of projects discovering, at a later stage, a growing interest for ceramics. Hence, we are going to deepen one of her ceramic projects: the “Objectify” vase series. The second designers founded Limoceramics creating ceramics that combine traditional craftsmanship and contemporary design, sometimes customizing them with additional materials. As usual we let them speak and tell their stories!

1. Welcome to the Pot-Pettas column. Please introduce yourself to our readers telling something about your education and your professional experience.

Isabell: I graduated in Product Design at the Zürich University of the Arts in 2005. Since then I worked for renowned design consultancies around the world. Working for several international clients allowed me to gain experience in varied design fields, from homeware to electronics, helping me to define my own design principles. In 2010 I founded my own Studio starting to be more and more interested in ceramics and homeware products.

Limoceramics: we are Rosa Bou and Kumi Furio, the two creators of Limoceramics, a pottery studio that we launched in Valencia inspired by the long tradition of Manises’ ceramic workshops. It was born two years ago after an experience in using ceramic as working material discovering its potentiality. Our products are pieces made by using a traditional process with contemporary appeal. We are both industrial designers, specialized in graphic design and set design activities that we combine under the brand Limo Studio.

2. What are the main principles and objectives of your work?

Isabell: creating things that make people happy. Interacting with objects in everyday life should be fun: that is why I aim to create simple, minimalistic, playful and functional products. I love to challenge the conventional design rules and I believe in high-quality timeless objects because they are able to trascend time and generations. I also think that every single object has a story to tell and one of the best example I can give you to explain this is the experience I made with “Objectify”.

Limoceramics: the creation of Limoceramics came about from our enthusiasm for simple design and artisanal processes where the material is the main character. From the beginning we’ve been attracetd by the ceramic for its plasticity and that particular “magic” that comes with each firing.

3. We go straight to the point. Tell us how “Objectify” was born and why this project is special.

Isabell: I spent 4 months in Bali during a sabbatical period where I had the opportunity to study porcelain and ceramic product development. During that period I created a vase series calling it “Objectify”. I conceived these vases as a metaphor of one of the current society’s contradictions. In specific, I was exploring the dicothomy between conformity and individualism. You can recognize their common matrix but they are at the same time very different from each other.

“Objectify” also explores the contradictions in our society for the need of conformity and individualism and our wish for the benefits of mass produced items and at the same time to have objects with unique characteristics. An interesting discrepancy on which, as a designer, I think a lot about in these days. Vases are currently shown in several exhibitions and are not for sale; I have many ideas to extend this series and I am looking for a manufacturer (who might be you?).

4. We are really in love with the Animal series. Could you describe which was the idea behind it?

Limoceramics: the idea was to give new life to those everyday objects that everybody has at home and what’s better than turning them into little animals, each recognizable by their ears?

5. Are you currently experimenting something new?

Isabell: I am currently experimenting with ceramics, marble, wood, metal and glass aiming to improve the usability of products used in everyday life. I am designing a new collection of tablewares so stay tuned to know what is going on. Meanwhile have a look at my “721 grams” candleholder that received a special mention for the German Design Award 2015.

6. How did your collaborations for Trio come about?

Limoceramics: the collaborations came from our admiration for the work of really talented illustrators and artists mostly from Valencia and some from UK and also from our personal relationship with many professionals: among them Julio Antonio Blasco Sr. Lopez, Marcos Caparrós, Jen Felton, Laura Castelló, Milimbo and Mark Lazenby. Today it’s so easy to reach people and propose projects and collaborations and we are always open to collaborations with professionals from all over the world: it seems to us very enriching.

7. Will you participate in design events next year?

Isabell: I am currently working on designs for the Salone Satellite of Milan Design Week, from 14 to 19 April 2015. I also have a huge to do list for my Studio. There is definitely a lot of work ahead…

Limoceramics: every year we take part in many events related to design and craftsmanship. Soon we’ll be again at Valencia Dessiny Week.

8. Where we can find your products?

Isabell: I have not yet a proper shop or stockists but you can contact me through my official website. If you are interested in buying my 721 grams candleholder, please visit the dedicated online store. I look forward to receive your enquires, requests for information or collaboration to mail@isabellgatzen.com

Limoceramics: our products are on sale in design shops, art galleries and museum shops in Spain, Austria, Italy, France and soon in China. You can also contact us directly for any inquiry at info@limoceramics.com

Photo credits: Studio Isabell Gatzen and Limoceramics

Interviews by Valeria Crescenzi & Margherita Visentini. Zürich-Madrid, December 2014.

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