A designer creates by means of ideas, by concretising and communicating visions and forms. An artisan creates by turning ideas into reality, by letting his or her hand guide and move the forms from the world of ideas to the physically tangible world.
The encounter between industrial designer Milan Kosovic and ceramic artist Thomas Alexanderson was therefore unusually challenging. Not only do they represent different and deeply rooted traditions of form, but, as two people in their 30s and 60s respectively, they also represent two different generations.
Their meeting was nevertheless a fruitful one. It was tricky and filled with problems – which they succeeded in bridging, so that in the end both men were enthusiastic about both the process and the results. Via persistent experiments and generously unconditional attitudes, both participants have developed.
The hard-to-crack nut was the material, clay. Or rather, clays, as it is not one but many materials. “Interpersonal” includes earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. For Thomas these are well-known and self-evident aspects of his work as a ceramic artist. For Milan they are among many materials he has worked with – ones he therefore presumed were as easy to shape as plastic, metal or wood. But the problems appeared immediately when the first concept – the lamp Metamorph, originally called Transformer – was to be fired. The clay did not behave as Milan had expected. It resisted.
As a ceramic artist, Thomas is used to the material being in control. The challenge here was instead to achieve a carefully planned, predetermined result. As a designer, Milan is used to communicating via blueprints that determine in detail what the result will be. Something that that was now not at all a given.
The unique aspect of this collaboration is its mix of ideas and execution. None of the duo’s joint projects – for pure enjoyment they became more numerous than originally intended – resembles what the two men had previously created by themselves. The objects in Metamorph, Graftic, Symbiotic, Subordinate and Dialectic are without exception more distanced and elegant than Thomas’s usual ceramic output. They are also freer, more artistically liberated than Milan’s normal design objects. They are instead the work of two people. Or, as the collaboration is logically entitled, they are interpersonal.
“Interpersonal” – a collaboration that challenges the encounter between crafts and design.
Photo: Fanny Hansson
DESIGNER: MILAN KOSOVIC
Milan is a Malmö-based industrial designer with a broad spectrum of clients. For example, he has developed strollers for Britax, toys for Brio and various projects for Byggfabriken. He has also won many prizes, such as the international Red Dot and the Skåne Guldkärnan award.
More info: www.mkid.se
PRODUCER: THOMAS ALEXANDERSON
Thomas is a ceramic artist with his own studio, Ateljé Brännorna, in Onslunda, southeast Skåne. He is also known as Thomas Drejare, whose signature is on the well-known stoneware service for the Koi restaurant in Malmö. His studio is now in southeast Skåne, where he fires and glazes his work in several kilns using a variety of techniques. He often produces utility ware but also unique objects.
More info: www.ateljebrannorna.se
A portrait series that showcases four collaborations between designers and producers with a focus on process. The four collaborations originated in a project called Den Nya Kartan (the new map), in which curator Jenny Nordberg paired up designers and producers, all based in Skåne, in order to demonstrate the strength of collaboration as well as the creativity and sometimes magic that emerge from this encounter.