We rarely take into account the origin and identity of everyday objects that are made for our use. So many of our clothes and belongings are made in countries outside the US, and this separation keeps us from appreciating the full value of objects we encounter every day. I know the origin of a few things in my apartment: I know that my four-poster bed was made in Macau, China and that my Le Creuset pot was handcrafted in Southern France for example. This knowledge places an intrinsic value on the items because it gives them an origin, a story and an identity.
Netherlands-based ceramic designers Nadine Sterk and Lonny van Ryswyck of Atelier NL took this idea to an entirely new level with a series of geotagged pottery that just received a Re:Vision Design Award. The hand-crafted pottery pieces are sourced from different farms spanning a 460-square-kilometer area in the Netherlands called Noordoostpolder. Each piece is stamped with a code indicating its exact origin. At the invitation of Jurgen Bey, the Atelier designers took up artists’ residencies there to study the creation and development of this agricultural area. “We wanted to make tableware so that the vegetables prepared for dinner could be served from vessels made from the same soil the vegetables came out of,” explains Rijswijck.
Images courtesy of Inhabitat
Look at these gorgeous colors, all found in the natural soils in different parts of the region! They discovered yellow earth in Brunssum, a smooth and shiny dark brown in Woerden, and a rough terra cotta in Gilze-Rijen. This could be (I hope) a trend in kitchen product design because there is definitely more awareness of the origins of the food we eat. This takes that concept to a new level, so that the materials we use to eat the food out of help us to understand what we are eating. It adds a lot of meaning to the meal that may otherwise be taken for granted! Sterk explains that, “ A bucket filled with earth is anonymous, but the stories of the farmer who works the earth lend it its identity.”