by Justina Monceviciute
Claything is an innovative clay-based flexible surfaces project and concept by the material designer Justina Monceviciute. It explores the potential of ceramics, willing to break limited preconception and expectations of it to be static, rigid and fragile material. Driven by pure aesthetics, both simplicity, multifunctionality, and inspired by recent developments in material science of clay, Claything designs new experiences of ceramics.”
Tell us about yourself and how you came to be a material designer, artist and a visionary?
I was always interested in art. I have finished trainings in painting and drawing by the time I was 19 and afterwards I was enrolled in a painting course at the Art Academy in Vilnius. However, after a while I have noticed, that I lacked passion for the subject and was more interested in working hands-on with materials. Textile and Surface Design at the Weißensee Academy of Art in Berlin got my attention for its focus on conceptual and experimental approach towards design and practice-oriented processes. I did internships and collaborations in England, Italy and Switzerland, which were mostly connected to fashion. These experiences helped me to recognise my strengths as a designer: experimenting with materials/construction techniques and their behaviours were always more appealing to me, than only aiming to create something visually beautiful from the beginning. I continue this approach in my recent project Claything. I deliberately chose the playful/indefinite name for the project to convey the fusion between art, design, textiles, material research and architecture.
Where are you from?
I was born in Lithuania, but I am based in Berlin, Germany.
Do you have a creative process?
To create a piece I start with an experimentation with techniques and materials and then choose the features of the outcomes that interest and/or surprise me the most. Often I already have in mind the effect on how I want a material to behave and push it till I achieve what I want. I always have a very clear vision on the aesthetics. It is very important for me that my pieces communicate my personal design language.
Can you share a bit of your day-to-day work as a designer?
It is a routine. I wake up and go to the studio to do what’s need to be done, according to my deadlines and timeline. I share my working space with three talented textile and fashion designers, who happened to be my good friends as well. We work on separate projects, but we try to keep up and reflect on each others work whenever we have time.
How did start your participation in the Beyond Material Collective? And how does this group of five designers work? Do you work together?
We all met a while ago in the University. Three of us -Sara Diaz Rodriguez, Veronika Aumann and me- have degrees in Textile and Surface Design, while Babette Wiezorek and Kristin Dolz come from a field of product design. We all work on seperate projects and have different design positions/creative processes. However, what unite us is a conceptual and challenging approach towards design and materials. It was the first time that we exhibited as a group publicly at the DDW 2018 at Veem Location. We found it advantageous to show our projects together, as how different they are, complemented each other and helped to emphasise our statement. Our collaboration continues and we are looking forward to our next exhibitions in 2019.
How long did you take to develop the project Claything ? And what was your main inspiration?
Claything is a further development of my MA project. However, I fully committed to the project since the beginning of 2018. I would not say, that I was inspired to develop Claything by one particular matter.
Claything translates my position towards textiles and ceramics, what is about exploring+challenging their application possibilities. My parents worked with ceramics, so I grew up playing with this material. I was re-drawn by ceramics, because of its earthy aesthetics and multifunctionality. This material has been used for ages and it still has a lot of unexplored potential. As well the current Zeitgeist with topics of climate change, sustainability and need of long-term thinking influenced the choice to focus and research on the properties of clay. Back to simplicity. I feel my personal responsibility to count these aspects into my design practice.
Why use clay + textile and how to use your project on a daily basis?
Claything finds itself in a pilot phase. It does not offer you one product, that you can buy and use as an item on a daily basis yet. It does not focus on one specific problem and pass you a solution how to fix it, as what are the standardised linear guidelines in design and more specifically product design. The emphasis of Claything is dealing with a material itself.In this phase I am testing first ideas of the products for interior design.
We think of clay to be rigid, hard and fragile material, mostly used in design for tableware or tiles etc. Textiles is an essential part of the designing process. Claything comprehends textiles as construction schemes, rather than visual images. They distinguish themselves through logical and mathematical arrangements, which are used to assemble ceramic particles to achieve flexible structures and objects. As a result, designed surfaces behave like fabrics, yet hardness of ceramics add new architectural characteristics. The objects that I create are meant to show new qualities and behaviours of clay, that we do not usually expect to experience. Each Claything piece is one of a kind and meant to be seen both as an art/inspirational pieces and design prototypes to translate my futuristic idea of this material.
How do you see the Claything , what is the future for this "new tactile, aesthetic and functional experience of clay"?
I am willing to integrate Claything in interiors same way textiles are used in our living spaces. As an example, at the moment I am developing big scale room dividers and curtains. Ceramic surface is able to regulate humidity in a space as well as influence acoustics. At the moment I am focusing on experimenting with these features.
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