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These Stunning Plates Were Smashed Into Shape By An 11,000-Pound Industrial Machine

Made by the Turner Prize winning Granby Workshop, each plate and cup is unique.

The plates in your house were likely produced en masse—and they all look exactly the same. But a new series of dishware promises that each plate and cup will be entirely unique, using a new process.

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It works like this: Ceramicists puts different colored clays underneath a giant industrial press, which squishes them together to create colorful splotches and swirls. Each resulting plate is a stunning singular art piece that’s also microwave- and dishwater-safe.

The line of dishes, aptly named Splatware, were created in a collaboration between the U.K.-based design studio Assemble and its off-shoot Granby Workshop. Granby Workshop, which makes architectural ceramics, is named for Granby, a downtrodden neighborhood in Liverpool that the workshop helped renovate in 2015 (winning the prestigious Turner Prize in the process). For those homes, Granby Workshop made things like doorknobs, fireplaces, and bathroom tiles; Splatware is the workshop’s first tableware. By launching the project on Kickstarter, the workshop hopes to grow and continue to invest in the neighborhood where it all began.

To create the plates and cups, the workshop purchased an 11,000-pound industrial RAM press–now nicknamed “Rambo”–from a nearby town’s ceramics factory, where it had produced fine china cookie trays (it’s so large that it broke that ceramics factory’s floor when they were moving it). The workshop members then began experimenting with the Splatware process; they tried using different types of clays, pigments, and techniques to get results that had a cohesive feel but were still unique every time. The final process entails adding pigment to clay, putting different colored chunks of clay inside the RAM press, and then applying 66 tons of pressure to meld the clay back together and eliminate any moisture. Then the pieces are fired multiple times so they’re safe to eat from.

[Photo: courtesy Assemble]
The colorful clay that darts through the finished plates and cups almost look like abstract paintings, which fits the Granby Workshop’s design philosophy: creative manufacturing that brings randomness into every products.

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You can order a set of four plates for $158 and a set of four cups for $105 on Kickstarter. If the project meets its funding threshold, they’re slated to ship in February 2018.

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About the author

Katharine Schwab is an associate editor based in New York who covers technology, design, and culture. Email her at kschwab@fastcompany.com and sign up for her newsletter here: https://tinyletter.com/schwabability

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