‘Concrete’ is a vase that explores the relationship between fragility and mass; between a material and its cultural context; between the broken and the whole.
Widely used as a strong and resistant medium, mainly in the construction of buildings, concrete - as our choice of material - breaks with the conventional expectation of a material to be used in the crafts. It is closely linked with Brutalism and Beton-Brut, which put forth the aesthetic values of roughness, rawness and straightforwardness. While nowadays contemporary and environmentally friendly techniques are employed across the western world, concrete is still the main building material in Israel and in the Middle East, and thus becomes a dominant part of urban identity. Moreover, concrete has a strong political baggage, being used as means of forced control over populations.
‘Concrete’ explores what happens when concrete clashes with the scale of an object of craft, as opposed to a building: Qualities such as fragility and instability arise and the relationship between the mould and the moulded is being questioned.
The vase is designed so that it thins out towards its edge. Even though all the vases are formed by the same mould each vase unfolds its unique shape, as the act of extracting the object from the mould inevitably breaks its thin edge. The seriality of the casted objects is thus - quite literally - fractured.
The broken edge stands in contrast to the fundamentals of object making, where the edge is required to be clear and perfect in order to define a shape. This notion is clearly apparent in the broad sphere of vessels: a vessel's edge cannot tolerate flaws. Confronting this perception, ‘Concrete’ sets before us a quintessential question: What is a whole object, and can the whole contain the imperfect at all?
Signature: Signed on bottom
Image rights: Photos by Rami Maymon
-2012, Breaking the Mould, winners of the Alix de Rothschild competition for Israeli Craft, Benyamini Center, Tel Aviv.
About Noam Dover and Michal Cederbaum
Tel Aviv-based designers Noam Dover and Michal Cederbaum combine their varied backgrounds—including interior design, scenography, furniture, hand-made objects, curating, and cultural-theoretical writing—in their experimental design process. Together they question the boundaries between design, craft, and production. Projects range from street art interventions that add a sense of humor to local signs, to vases that serve as investigations into the nature of concrete and the difference between the broken and the whole. They are equally interested in process and the finished product, as seen in their sandblasted vintage ceramics in which glazed designs are stripped away to create abstract patterns.