California studio Brave Matter has used simple forms and earthy materials to create lighting fixtures and tableware that are meant to evoke ancient artefacts.
The Archaic Modern Light collection – presented at this year’s NYCxDesign festival – consists of three luminaries, all made of ceramic, Himalayan pink salt and brass. The designs reference the “materials, archetypes and technologies from the remote past”.
The A/M Orb Pendant features a terraced, globe-shaped ceramic shade topped with a brass disk and a rounded chunk of pink salt. The salt is affixed to a slender, spun-and-woven brass rod. The A/M Pendant Small is similarly constructed, although its has a trapezoidal shade resembling an upside-down plant pot.
The bottom of the shade is uncovered, allowing the pendant to serve as a task light. The glowing block of salt in the upper portion of the fixture delivers ambient light.
“Himalayan pink salt serves as a light diffusing material in juxtaposition to high-lumen LED technology,” said Brave Matter.
The shades are made of mineral-rich clay cast in molds, and then coated with mica-laden glazes available in several hues, from moss and red ochre to terra pink. The glazes are intended to produce “soft, glimmering and time-worn surfaces”.
The third design in the collection, Sender One, is a table lamp constructed from a salt crystal that has been carefully honed and then pierced by a brass rod. The salt disc and metal rod work in tandem to allow the lamp to rest at an angle.
Beyond lighting fixtures, Brave Matter has also designed a collection called Necessary Objects (N/O), which consists of functional pieces made of slip-cast ceramic. The designs are influenced by the repetitive thoughts, feelings and movements associated with yearning.
“Necessary Objects is a collection of utilitarian vessels inspired by the mechanisms of desire–motivated repetition, synaptic patterns reinforcing themselves over countless repeated occasions,” the studio said.
The N/O Vessels come in three sizes: Vessel O is tall and slender; Vessel M is stocky and wide-mouthed; and Vessel N is a nine-inch (23-centimetre) bowl. The vessels are an extension of the studio’s N/O Service collection, which features a robust, handle-free teacup and a matching carafe, jar and tray. Sandblasted ash was used to create a thin lid for the jar and a bulbous cork for the decanter.
The stoneware objects are offered in hand-blended glazes, concocted using earthy materials such as whitish clay, edible kelp and hand-charred blackened wood.
“Glazes emphasise an interdependence between clay and glaze – inducing a myriad of subtle, and at times, volatile expression of texture, colour and depth,” the designers said.
Based in Oakland, in the San Francisco Bay area, Brave Matter was founded in 2016 and led by designers Cathy Lo and Christina Zamora.
Taiwan-born Lo studied art and architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. Zamora, who was raised in New Mexico, studied industrial design at the California College of Arts and Crafts and spent the first decade of her career working for Heath Ceramics, a California pottery company established in 1948.
Other homeware collections featuring slip-cast ceramic include porcelain tableware by Seo-Yeon Park that is based on Georgia O’Keeffe paintings, and decorative ceramics by Sinae Kim that are glazed with human urine.
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