Graduate 2016: The narratives in Royal Copenhagen's products
How does Royal Copenhagen succeed in making products, which combine excellent craftsmanship with an assembly-line method? The designer Mia Maya Christophersen has studied the subject and worked to clarify it through products in her KADK graduation project.
What is your graduation project about?
My project is about the narratives implicit in ceramic products about authenticity and renewal through materials and form. The intention of my project was to investigate the possibilities of ceramic materials in the context of Royal Copenhagen’s industrial production. The project consisted of collaboration with Royal Copenhagen. As I see it, Royal Copenhagen differs from other industrial porcelain companies, because craftsmanship has a visible presence in their products. I wanted to work further on the quality and variation that comes with handmade products. The ceramic effects of hand painting and glazing formed the basis of my project. I worked on coming up with an authentic expression that contains some of the qualities and expression, which glazing develops in the firing process. In the interaction between relief, glaze and decoration, I worked on designing products to complement parts of Royal Copenhagen’s current range.
What would your graduation project mean for society, if it were realised?
It would be great and amazing to see the realisation of my graduation project. I regard my project as relevant for a large group of people who miss the unique expression in a tight context, where industrial and handmade aspects come together in every product. I also believe there are major qualities in the fact that you can refresh your blue-painted or ribbed dinner service by putting it together with new solutions. The encounter with traditional dinner service elements generates new stories, which highlight and complement the individual characters.
What is your strength as a designer?
My strength as a designer lies in my curiosity about the aesthetic and functional possibilities of materials. I work on the different qualities of materials and develop their expression through systematic experimentation.
How important was it for you that your graduation project was implemented in cooperation with Royal Copenhagen?
The cooperation meant that the results I arrived at could realistically be implemented in their current production. It provided me with a greater insight into industrial possibilities and some very specific references and traditions to work further on. It was also interesting and almost nostalgic to return to Royal Copenhagen and be allowed to work further on the craft, which I learned in my time as a blue painting apprentice at Royal Copenhagen in 2007.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I have always found it hard to imagine where I will be in the future. I am an impulsive person and act intuitively. But right now I would soon like to be working in a ceramic design workshop, where I can develop new design solutions. I also hope to be busy on more collaborative projects with both Royal Copenhagen and other design companies.