Being brought up by my mother, an interior designer, had a huge influence on me. She instilled in me an appreciation for beautiful, refined things which included a love for flora and ceramics.
Wellington-based, award-winning ceramic artist, Jeremy Cole, designs and creates lighting collections inspired by nature. His flora-inspired collections are enjoyed all over the world, his products not only admired for their contemporary style and timeless beauty, but also for the care and skill each handmade piece entails. Embracing traditional methods of production with his own modern flair, Cole is proud to employ some of the world’s most skilled ceramicists. Verve caught up with Cole, who took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions.
What’s the first thing you designed? Where were you? Was it any good?
The Aloe Blossom was my first design. It took four weeks to create which I did from my flat in London. Sponsorship from UK Trade and Investment soon followed which allowed me to exhibit my work globally earning international acclaim.
What piece of furniture/art bought for your home do you most love?
The Dedon Love Seat, a beautifully designed outdoor lounger which sits in my courtyard at home.
Which designer would you most like to collaborate with – and what would you like to make with them?
Chanel, I would love to create a perfume bottle that encapsulates the camellia.
Where does your aesthetic stem from? Who/what have been your key influences?
Being brought up by my mother, an interior designer, had a huge influence on me. She instilled in me an appreciation for beautiful, refined things which included a love for flora and ceramics. Recently I have found myself creating designs with a slightly Asian aesthetic, but this is mainly due to the particular flora that I have been focusing on.
What are your favourite materials to work with? And what have you found particularly difficult to work with?
I work almost exclusively with bone china. It is an extremely difficult material to master but I enjoy the challenge of seeing how far I can push the boundaries of this medium. The challenges of working with ceramics are exhausting as you have to constantly find solutions to support the ceramics when in the kilns so their shape is not lost or too greatly distorted, but the end product is worth the journey. Bone china requires a lot of discipline and patience, thankfully things I have. The bone china pieces themselves are exceedingly beautiful and when you combine them to collectively form the lights they exceed your expectation. I guess, if you create something using a material that is already beautiful, it’s hard to go wrong from there.
Left to right: Aloe, Seed.
What’s the design you are most proud of and why?
The Aloe collection is the one I am most proud of. It was my first collection to put to market and it still commands a great deal of respect from people within the industry.
What would you define as your signature style?
Luxurious, elegant designs, large in scale and inspired by flora.
Your work has been installed in a number of high profile projects – can you give us a couple of examples?
I was the first non-Swede to have works purchased by their government for an installation in one of their buildings. Also, Trump, Frank Muller, Bvlgari, various spas around the world, various royals, and various international restaurants including Peter Gordon’s Tapa Room in London.
Is your work eco-friendly?
Ninety percent of the energy used by my studio is renewable, generated via wind, thermal and hydro. All my export crating is made from 100 percent sustainable forestry. My clay has 45 percent recycled material in it which is collected then converted from other industries. My studio is located in a repurposed seed factory. No stock is carried, everything is handmade to order with a view to stop any unnecessary inventory wastage.