A Japanese girl with a beak tied into her hair, a woman with a snail around her neck and a hare with a candleholder on its back are some of the images displayed on a series of plates by Dutch designer Hella Jongerius.
Created for Japanese design company Cibone and launched during Tokyo’s design week in November, the Shippo collection of five copper plates is decorated by traditional enamelling specialists in Nagoya, outside Tokyo.
“All of the motifs are based on an object or an animal,” says Jongerius. “I’m trying to depict an imaginary life, a fantasy world, like I did for the Vitra office pets [icon 050].”
The red rosette that decorates each plate was one of several images taken from the enamelling specialists’ archive to link the plates together.
The illustrations were made by laying strips of silver onto the copper plates and then hand-painting the forms with coloured powder. For the Shippolady plate, silk printing was used for the flower illustration, a motif also from the enamellists’ archive. To create the Copperdots plate, Jongerius experimented with a technique common in Morocco of punching into the copper.
“Enamel is like ceramics,” says Jongerius. “I do a lot of ceramics so I really wanted to glaze metal this time. We don’t use the enamelling technique so much any more – we now have plastic, and enamel’s considered too expensive.”