Challenging perceptions of materiality, form and function with Bench of Plates

Project: Ceramic bench at the V&A for the London Design Festival

Posted by ala | December 10 2014

Ceramic is a material embodying thousands of years of human endeavour. Raw and of the earth, the first material to be machined and tamed by man is still in everyday use. Tough but ultimately vulnerable, its antiquity belies its enduring and timeless modernity.

Beauty and utility are at the heart of ceramics’ lasting appeal. We have worked in partnership with Ceramica Cumella to showcase glazes, the spectrum of colours playfully referencing the domestic crockery that has served dinner tables for millennia. The individually hand-made components can be read as plates, tiles or shingles, a poetic repurposing of the material’s traditional uses.

Repetition of a single motif creates visual complexity but also a modular system interlocking in both plan and section, each plate providing support for its immediate neighbours. It is adaptable, changing shape with each new installation to respond to its context, environment, users and function.

The V&A is home to the world’s finest ceramic collections which inspired our design and choice of material.