Design Swedish designer Carina Seth Andersson has made it her mission to create beautiful utility items with perfectly balanced proportions. For ARKET’s first collection, in 2017, she designed a series of glazed clay bowls and plates that unite the refined expressions of traditional Nordic and Japanese crafts. For spring 2022, some of these pieces are being revisited and reintroduced alongside new and original designs.
With a small studio production of glass and ceramics as well as commissions for producers like Svenskt Tenn, Iittala and Marimekko, Carina Seth Andersson aims to transcend the traditional hierarchy of arts, crafts and the mass-produced. She considers her materials to be living and organic, and therefore, they demand the human hand and sense to transition from liquid to solid form, even if made industrially. Objects of glass or ceramics will never be entirely uniform, she believes, but slightly varying, reflecting the hand’s work and craft.
'Balancing proportions has always been key'
For Carina Seth Andersson, using utility design as the starting point means returning again and again to an object’s principal function. Rather than sketching and experimenting with the material, she begins working with words, listing needs and end uses, cutting and pasting and attributing them to a certain object or form. She draws inspiration from the simple, archetypal shapes that have evolved over time as solutions to everyday problems.
In Andersson’s work, traditional utility designs also serve as examples of how functional form is achieved, by studying the proportions and balance between an object’s components.
For ARKET’s first collection, launched in August 2017, Carina Seth Andersson created a series of everyday bowls and plates in glazed clay, designed for the kitchen as multifunctional vessels for holding, preparing, and serving. A characteristic spout runs as a red thread through the different designs, but as the size of the spout remains the same in bowls of different shapes and dimensions, the proportions are transformed and thus create a unique expression in each object.
Carina Seth Andersson works out of her studio in the ceramic centre of Gustavsberg in the Stockholm archipelago. Her products have been exhibited in galleries in New York, Paris, Milan and Tokyo, and her pieces are part of the permanent collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen.