28 Sep Collaboration with InterContinental Hotel
137° Ceramic Art Studio has been working on a collaboration with InterContinental Hotel in Barcelona. Lindy Veitenheimer is the Managing Director and creative force behind her agency Veiteinheimer Hospitality Consulting, the agency is dedicated to collaborating on art projects for the hotel and hospitality industry worldwide. Lindsey approached 137° Ceramic Art Studio for a truly unique and wonderful opportunity, looking for a collaboration to make a collection of wheel thrown pots and hand built, niche sculptures. The Crowne Plaza Barcelona has been refurbished, becoming the InterContinental Barcelona, part of the well known InterContinental Hotels & Resorts group. The hotel is situated on Avinguda Rius i Taulet 1-3, a short walk from Placa Espana, the Magic Fountain and The Nacional Art Museum of Catalonia. The inauguration of the hotel will take place at the end of October.
The lobby of the hotel features modern shelving, from floor to ceiling. Lindsey’s brief detailed ideas for 125 pots of different shapes and sizes, roughly 2/3 of the shelving would be filled with these pots and in no specific formula, the visual shows an order that is random and therefore takes the viewer’s eye on a journey. The desired monochrome look and feel of the pots were very specific with a cool white aesthetic throughout, and fluid curved shapes that could complement each other in the series.
Artist’s from 137°, Evan Powell and Manuel Estevez, set to work to create x45 large, x45 medium and x35 small vases using low-fire white clay, the process was very fluid and organic, allowing the clay to morph into shapes that were not entirely predestined. As the number of pots grew, the team began to explore the juxtaposition of size and shapes e.g. tall / short pots, wide / narrow etc, as well as harmonious pairings of nesting the vases together, to create a beautiful synchronicity.
The other half of the brief explored the sculptures that would find their home in the presidential suite. For the two twin sculptures, Lindy was inspired by Dalia Sofronie’s work currently on show in the 137° gallery. The series “In Stillness, Good things happen” are abstract sculptures of the human body, she wanted the texture of the flesh to look like bark, conveying the idea that the human body transforms into another substance, metamorphosing and changing it’s surface. The serie takes inspiration from meditation and its aim is transport the viewer to a moment of transcendence.
For the twin niche sculptures, Dalia created two black stoneware cylinders, then coated them with porcelain mixed with sodium silicate, she then used a heat gun in order for the porcelain to be very dry, however the black stoneware was still wet inside. At this part of the process, Dalia influences the shape of the vase, placing pressure with her hand from inside the cylinder, forcing the porcelain to crack in an organic way, taking care to ensure the cylinder maintained in symmetry.
After the pieces are bisqued (fired at 950°C) in order to make them stronger, a transparent glossy glaze is added here and there as a further support for some gold spots, and then fired at 1250°C. Finally the gold lustre is applied on those glazed spots, followed by a 3rd firing at 700°C. The gold must be added on top of glossy glaze to ensure it has a luxurious shimmer. The results is an elegant, white aesthetic, that contrasts with the ageing appearance of the cracks.
Lindy’s brief for the lobby sculptures explored an intimate approach, and these didn’t have to be identical. Dalia created two complimentary sculptures that simulate transparency in clay. One sculpture was made using brown clay, the other with white, however, each piece wears the pattern of the other which fits together like a puzzle when they overlap. The brown clay is so rich and beautiful in colour and texture, so it deserved to be shown off! Dalia’s process started with drawing the design on a paper in actual size and then using this as a stencil to cut the blocks of clay, then sculpting the form by hand. Matching the different patterns was a very intricate process that required a lot of precision, but it certainly pays off!
If you’d like to learn some of the techniques and methods used for our collaboration with InterContinental Hotel, visit our course calendar where you’ll find ongoing weekly ceramic classes in wheel throwing, hand building and decoration and finishing.
“I’m very happy for this collaboration with InterContinental Hotel , it’s very exciting and motivating to be able to direct your ideas and creativity, your joy, towards a project that is happening here in Barcelona, the town that we chose to live in, and that we have a strong connection with. We are also very pleased to be working with the hotel industry, to create ceramics as an art installation, to decorate these spaces. Ceramics is more on trend at the moment and clay is always an inspiring material, it’s closer to the human soul.” – Dalia Sofronie
Written by Freya Saleh