Location: New York, NY, United States
Completion date: 2017
Artwork budget: $300,000
Shawmut Design and Construction
In partnership with Rockwell Group, I produced three new works for the 12,500-square-foot space, influenced by traditional Japanese arts. The first is a duo of high-relief murals that grace the red Venetian plaster walls. The second is a feature wall of glazed blocks and squares in my signature cobalt blue. Reminiscent of boro patchwork textiles, it conceals a network of lighting fixtures that subtly set the piece aglow. The third artwork, displayed near the sake bar, is a collection of elegant rice-wine vessels, created in honour of the Seto and Mino pottery-making traditions of south-central Japan.
The over arching theme for this project was an ode to craftsmanship. Each ceramic artwork was handcrafted in my studio using traditional techniques of handbuilding, wheel throwing and slipcasting. The Sumi-e brush stroke was of great importance to the design team and was echoed in the composition of over 2000 ceramic elements that, once assembled together, sweep through the dining area. The sake bottles were individually made and decorated so that no two bottle is alike.
David Rockwell is a designer who understands how artists engage with a space. His particular vision encourages us to stay true to our unique styles, which ensures that each project has a truly distinctive look and feel. With the help of my studio assistants, wheel thrower, master mold maker and glaze technician, we were able to make this project come to life and the final result is a celebration of everything that is handmade.
Between working with these great names and being able to pursue my passion for handcrafted ceramics inspired by Japanese arts and crafts, this project was a dream come true.