Manipulating a traditional ceramic manufacturing process
Published on April 16, 2015
Seams is a collection of five large ceramic centerpieces designed by Benjamin Hubert Ltd for iconic Italian ceramic manufacturer Bitossi Ceramiche.
The collection stems from the studio’s research into creating mass-produced products with one off details by manipulating a traditional ceramic manufacturing process.
The studio began the project with a study into the slip casting process to establish how it could be utilised to introduce decorative elements to the product without a secondary decorating process. The slip casting mould has been split several times, introducing additional seam lines onto the surface of the product. Rather than cleaning these seams from the product, as would be normal practice, they remain as decoration and in the condition they emerged from the mould. The components of the mould can be rotated to various positions for every piece produced, meaning no two are identical.
Each of the vessels takes its shape from archetypal jar and bottle forms, referencing ceramic traditions. The colours and matte glaze are sympathetic to the forms, and keep the focus on the decorative seam elements.
The identity of Bitossi Ceramiche starts from the beginning of 1900’s and develops upon a productive ceramic tradition that existed in Montelupo Fiorentino starting from 1500. The activity of the Bitossi family started in 1921 for the will of Guido Bitossi with the establishment of “Manifattura Ceramica Cav. Guido Bitossi & Figli” that combined typical local craft works into a structured productive organisation. The production continues also with the collaboration of leading figures who were able to introduce an innovative cultural artistic sensibility. This attitude in connection with the entrepreneurial skills developed throughout the years with a constant research for the quality of finished products, contributed to create an identity for Bitossi Ceramiche as an example of Italian excellence. The presence of its territory turns into the expression of centuries’ old craft skills and the care for its history accompany the production with the research and collection for documents of material culture that witness how skills get renewed in the tradition.