For the “Antarctica” collection, Zhuoyu Hou was inspired by the frozen landscapes and fauna of the Arctic: penguin shapes are transformed into pitchers and vases; ice floes become shallow bowls, candleholders, and cups. With her designs, Hou explores the possibilities of porcelain design and manifests tensions by juxtaposing soft curves, asymmetries, and sharp edges. The organic shapes are continually interrupted by angular elements. It is this combination of form and function that makes this series so unique – both as a collection and as individual pieces. The design series “Antarctica” is available in classic white porcelain as well as a crystal glaze variant.
“With ‘Antarctica’, Meissen product designer Zhuoyu Hou has created a harmonious tableware collection that adds a bold new design vocabulary to the manufactory’s repertoire.”
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In 2016, Chinese national Zhuoyu Hou began working as a product designer at the Meissen porcelain manufactory, drawing on her own artistic expertise to bring new and original ideas to the manufactory that looks back on a rich history and longstanding wordly gaze. For Zhuoyu Hou an object’s beauty is a result of its use. Following this important guiding principle, the artist is constantly inspired to create new pieces and motivated to break new ground. Zhuoyu Hou’s greatest inspiration is nature and has played a role of great importance to the artist since her earliest childhood. Plants, animals or even light reflections inspire Zhuoyu Hou, sparking ever new ideas and forming the basis of her artistic dialog with Meissen porcelain.
“Natural tension through curves and edges lend the design aesthetics and fit harmoniously into the minimalist spirit of the time.”
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The guiding idea for the development of the "Antarctica" collection came to Zhuoyu Hou when she saw a penguin family in the Arctic ice - dad, mum, a big and a little brother. She transformed the silhouette of the penguins into jugs and vases in her first sketches. The curved shapes contrast with the angular openings and visualise the belly and head of the penguins. Her first models in clay showed how exciting the organic language of form with its curves contrasted with the angular, rectilinear elements appeared to the viewer. Since clay is very flexible and adaptable, she was not only able to create a visually appealing design in her work, but also directly consider the feel. If the proportions of the porcelain match the way it is handled, it will be used more often. Which in turn, according to Zhuoyu Hou, enhances the beauty of the design pieces. With this in mind, the designer has developed jugs that are versatile. Whether as a vase, water carafe, milk jug or gravy boat, the vessels become an absolute eye-catcher in the modern interior.
Around the penguin vases, Zhuoyu Hou developed a whole landscape. Thus, ice floes and icebergs became various bowls, candle holders and cups. She gave all objects a harmoniously reduced aesthetic - entirely in keeping with the purist lifestyle.