Material Directions 2024/25: Grain
In the face of global disruption and increasing resource scarcity, where we live takes on a totemic importance, inspiring designers to look to the land and cultural identity for inspiration.
Visually, this story draws together threads from around the world. Traditional woven and embroidered textiles feature prominently, as well as subtle references to the grids of fields as seen from the sky and the furrows cut into ploughed earth.
Referencing agricultural food themes, surfaces appear baked, paying homage to the humble loaf. The Terra Cotta series of bowls by Talia Mukmel combine basic methods and materials, and are made from sand and flour. Indicative of the crusty surface of bread, the bowls are then baked in an oven.
Lulu Harrison’s glass experiments using glass frit from waste materials evoke the appearance of the inner crumb of bread.
In line with Grain’s rural aesthetic, finishes appear with a rustic sheen. London plane wood is oiled revealing the material’s organic grain in the Mesa de Baile coffee table by Wilkinson & Rivera for SCP.
In ceramics, this is achieved as glazes pool with thicker applications. This can be seen in Charlotte Visser’s series of agrarian ceramic bowls, using a glaze made from gathered salt from Soledar mines in Ukraine.
The cultural importance of folk art feeds into pattern directions with an emphasis on natural landscapes and animals. In Terracotta Blues, vases are wheel-thrown by Chiara Zoppei and illustrated by Clara Holt using blue slip and the sgraffito technique. The folk-inspired scenes are informed by places, mythology and childhood stories.
A similar folk aesthetic is referenced in the Élitis embroidered and embossed wallcoverings.
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Image credits from top: Talia Mukmel | Terra Cotta | Photo Gidon Levin; Lulu Harrison | Frit | A Half Way Glass; Stefania Loschi | ORIGO | Clay; Bruno Baietto | The Bare Necessities | At the Table exhibition at Garage Rotterdam; Wilkinson & Rivera for SCP | Mesa de Baile coffee table; Charlotte Visser of CHY Pottery | Salted Glaze | Photo Alex Blanco; Clara Holt and Chiara Zoppei | Terracotta Blues; Élitis | Paros VP 954 05; Olga Prinku | Connections exhibited at Collect Open 2023