24 May 2021
This new series, Design bites, unveil the backstage of contemporary creation. Tackling various topics from personal designer processes to the position of Collectible design on the global design market; these bites offer different views to suit all tastes. Today we talk with Maia Beyrouti from Moïo Studio.
COLLECTIBLE: What do you think collectible design brings compared to other more massively produced pieces?
Maia Beyrouti: Collectible design pieces cater to a human/object/human connection that gives these pieces specific energy. They foster human communication and ideas as the humans involved in the processes become very visible. A piece becomes “this piece” and not just “a piece of its type” and with this comes a shift in the discussion about what is being offered and received.
The life these objects embody in their unusual propositions of form or material also opens up a space for innovation and ideas, not only on the level of production but in the room where they are placed. Objects affect our thoughts and vice versa, they propose something new. This can be intangible, for example with ritual objects in many cultures, the object is a vector, a portal. It's not merely about escapism but about tapping into ideas we want to materialize. Whilst this is not new, I think it poses interesting questions as objects move more and more into digital realms where the singularity of a piece and its palpably human mark become redefined.
“I am attracted to the DNA of objects, looking at their simplest parts, and the focus on handles quickly devolved into the handles taking on a life of their own.”
C: How would you describe the boundary between functional art and collectible design? Where do you situate your practice between those two?
MB: They are not mutually exclusive so the place where they overlap allows a lot of play and humour that is specific to questions of function and intention. It is a space that questions and explores our physical and emotional relationship to objects. Function is quickly abstracted into a symbol, is looked at, and its mechanisms used or subverted and then brought back into reality.
Vessels are a great medium for this since they have been widely used historically as purely decorative pieces stripped of any other function, and are also present in spiritual contexts where they become totemized with what we invest into them. Yet they remain firmly linked to their ancient functionality as food or water vessels and we have an innate understanding and an emotional connection to them. I think this is why I make both vessels and sculptures and increasingly want them to merge, I am interested in the overlays of body/object/mind.
C: Can you talk about a new piece/collection that you release for COLLECTIBLE SALON?
MB: The Shadows & Voids project started in February 2021 with the development of a silvery black glaze and a desire for handles. I am attracted to the DNA of objects, looking at their simplest parts, and the focus on handles quickly devolved into the handles taking on a life of their own. Just like plants each have their own method of creating new leaves, these pieces want to differentiate themselves through handles. They are a wonderful place to play, function meets ornament, ergonomics meets material. The pieces presented here are the first ones from the project; the ones currently being made in the studio have been taken over by the handles creature completely gone rogue. They seem to have transcended ornament and want to be sculptural; investigating this landscape between the functional and the symbolic is what this project allows. The glossy black glaze ties them all in together and grounds them, gives them both a softness and a strength in their expression.
About Moïo Studio (Germany)
Moïo Studio is the Berlin-based ceramic art studio of French-Palestinian artist Maia Beyrouti. With a focus on sculptural vessels and an interest in expressive surfaces, each project comes together as a result of the studio's ongoing glaze and clay materials research. This informs a desire for certain forms and techniques inspired by architecture, raw materials, and celebrating mundane, utilitarian or overlooked details. All of the work is handmade by the artist in her studio.