Bethany Stafford designs building blocks for grown-ups
Kate Brewer | October 13, 2016
Nottingham Trent graduate Bethany Stafford combines a love of brutalist architecture and bold colours to create a decorative ceramic collection that users can arrange themselves.
Bethany ‘s sculptural collection of ceramic block forms, entitled Brutalist Inspired Ceramics, comes in a range of contrasting and complementary colours, ranging from orange and petrol blue, to mid-grey and putty. The individual ‘Block Forms’ are bound with ‘Banded Forms’ (coloured elastic bands) that create bright compositions.
Taking her inspiration from brutalist architecture, Bethany has stripped back the aesthetic to a set of simple geometric forms. Each is approximately 10cm high and 3cm wide and can be bound in sets of three, with the combination of flat and angled surfaces depicting an architectural skyline of shapes.
Each element is made from hollow porcelain making the overall pieces lightweight and easy to construct. The combination of forms is intended to be interchangeable, and to be positioned on any side, creating a grown-up set of building blocks. By enabling the user to personalise their own structural creations, Bethany has removed the perceived fragility of her sculptural, decorative collection.
Brutalism, although not loved by all when much of it was build between the 1950s and the 1970s, is now enjoying something of a revival, and being celebrated for its harsh concrete visual, often jarring and agitating its surroundings. Bethany’s interpretation adds a playful approach and a splash of colour to that aesthetic.
The simplicity of Bethany’s sculptural collection seeks to familiarise and soften the often austere world of architecture, using brutism as a starting point, and has managed to capture an essence of fun and modernity that celebrates the movement with a fresh perspective.
Bethany Stafford studied a BA in Decorative Arts, and graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 2016. She presented her brutalist ceramics as part of her graduate collection during this Summer’s New Designer’s showcase in London.