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.

design_geek_bethanystafford_bThe 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.


Bethany Stafford is one of Look Like Love’s ‘One-to Watch’ designers, find out more about her work here

Further Reading for the Especially Geeky ::

Contributing Writer – Kate Brewer

Interior designer Kate Brewer, established Look Like Love in 2011 as a platform for new designers. She writes a weekly column for confessions of a design geek showcasing the new talent she discovers. She has worked in the industry for 11 years as a retail interior and furniture designer for brands including Mulberry, All Saints and Selfridges. Over the past four years, Look Like Love has established an e-commerce site, and showcased new talent as part of London Design Festival in 2013 and 2014, and opened a week-long pop shop as part of Clerkenwell Design Week in 2015.

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