Marset’s modern-age ceramicist
Inside the Apparatu ceramics atelier near Barcelona, family pottery traditions have found their place in the hands of designer Xavier Mañosa. The burgeoning mastermind behind the wheel has become an industry wunderkind. His hands-on process is labour-intensive, but the results are pure magic. Taking a digitally savvy approach to artisanal craftsmanship, his lights for Marset have been compared to precious jewels–and for good reason.
The Spanish designer’s new Pu-erh lamp (also known as the Delicate Light) is a shining example. To create the suspension lamp, Mañosa formed a fabric-like texture, akin to pleated silk, out of ceramic. His original sketch, full of ripples and folds, was directly applied to the conical shade’s mould, resulting in a raw and organic effect.
“The soul exercise of the piece is in the texture and in the finishings,” said Mañosa in an interview with Marset. “It has this sensuality that is asking you to touch it… The challenge is being delicate.”
Mañosa’s Early Years
As a designer who operates on instinct, Mañosa often lets his creations take shape naturally. This art of restrained intervention involves incredible manual dexterity. Marset’s Pu-erh lamp reveals the simplicity of this time-honoured dance.
Though he grew up surrounded by kilns in his family’s studio, Mañosa didn’t always embrace this tradition. Early on in his career, he eschewed pottery techniques and instead moved to Berlin to work as an industrial designer. It wasn’t until he returned to Barcelona in 2009 that he decided to merge his craft heritage with his newfound design knowledge. His family’s workshop serves as an inspiring atmosphere. The industrial estate was once a production facility for ceramics used in the construction industry. Today, it’s a hub for the antique trade, as well as Apparatu’s experimental projects.
Since launching the brand with his parents, Mañosa has exhibited pieces at contemporary design fairs in London, Tokyo, New York, México, Stockholm, Madrid and beyond. Most recently, he created an installation at Milan Design Week 2017, in which an entire kitchen and its utensils were crafted out of natural stone brand Cosentino’s clay-like material, Dekton.
With every new project, he seems to further carve out a niche for himself. One of his key differentiators is his ability to combine original materials and play like a kid in a sandbox with new forms of expression.
Mañosa Designs for Marset
His previous collections for Marset certainly illustrate these strengths. In 2011, he wowed the industry with the Pleat Box luminaires in collaboration with Berlin-based design studio Mashallah. The concept behind the collection was to digitally design a crease in a piece of cloth and apply the sophisticated silhouette to a ceramic base. In 2013, he teamed up with Mashallah once again to design Marset’s Scotch Club fixtures. When creating the pendants, Mañosa paid close attention to detail while following a meticulous process that involved firing each lamp in the kiln four times and using glazes specifically developed for the collection. Various high-quality materials were incorporated into the finishes.
Lamps that Sing
One of Mañosa’s most distinctive treatments is applying liquid gold to the interiors of some of his Pleat Box or Scotch Club lamps. Ceramic fixtures are known to give off a warm glow but this intensifies the effect while also adding a connotation of luxury. Infusing organic forms with a touch of glamour, Mañosa isn’t afraid to take pleasure in designing. This is, perhaps, what makes his lighting collections so joyful. Study his Scotch Club pendant lamp and you’ll see it pays homage to the disco ball (and the first discotheque in Europe of the same name). Naturally, it also mimics the disco ball’s ability to cast light in several different directions, bringing life and dimension to modern spaces.
The 1970s may be over but just like his ceramics, Mañosa always finds a way to pull the best traditions into the present. A beautiful light may be composed of many elements, ridges and folds, but its maker’s passion speaks volumes. In Mañosa’s case, lamps don’t just shine, they sing.
Above: the Scotch Club pendants radiate warmth thanks to their gold interiors.
Below: Mañosa shares the inspiration and challenges behind designing his new Pu-erh pendants for Marset.
Marset & LightForm
From left to right: Marset Founder Javier Marset, designer Xavier Mañosa, and LightForm Founder Richard Assaly at Euroluce 2017 in Milan.
Visit our lighting showrooms in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary to see Mañosa’s ceramic luminaires in person.