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Art May, 16 2012

Ebon Heath x Villeroy & Boch – The Second Glance Project

In an interesting new project, iconic Germany brand Villeroy & Boch has teamed up with typographic artist Ebon Heath for the Second Glance Project. Presented last week in Berlin, the special collaboration between the artist and the brand, which was originally founded in 1748, was celebrated with an exhibition at Seven Star Gallery, showcasing the outcoming products.

Among many others, ceramics are still an expertise of Villeroy & Boch, known for their premium bathroom products. As such, the bathroom sink was the object that the artist started working on. Aside from a beautiful resulting product, the artist’s intuitive creativity meets and clashes with the clear structures and predetermined manufacturing steps of a company that is usually confined to a strict production framework and narrowly defined schedules.

The result is an interdisciplinary collaboration with clear mutual benefits: Inspired by Villeroy & Boch’s material and décor expertise, Ebon Heath went on to create several further Second Glance works, a. o. a poem-turned-mobile (Typographic Mobiles) blending Villeroy & Boch’s core competency (ceramics) with Heath’s pronounced penchant for typography. The resulting installation comprises 166 individual ceramic letters – fashioned into the seven lines and title of his Second Glance poem – and was assembled especially for the occasion.

Besides selected LoopArt creations, the event last week also presented the above-mentioned mobiles and bespoke jewelry, both fashioned from ceramic letters, as well as a short film on the design process behind this unusual – and unusually fruitful – collaboration. Watch the movie here below.

You can view and purchase the objects from the project online here. Also you will find there the dates of the roadshow of the exhibition.

After the jump, watch the video and read our interview with the artist on the Second Glance Project.

Ebon Heath tells us in our interview that he “… started talking (with Villeroy & Boch) over 2 years ago through PCH Innovations. PCH was the connecting point, having worked with Villeroy and me already before. At the time we were just talking about a design job, basically me designing a pattern for Villeroy. From there is just kept on growing.”

Villeroy & Boch has a tradition in the arts, has always promoted and supported the arts and as such the project was challenging, yet felt very natural to both sides. PCH Innovations made sure that the artistic world of Ebon Heath and the business world of Villeroy & Boch worked efficiently together, while making both sides feel comfortable with each other. The fact that Villeroy & Boch employees were involved into the project, innovating outside of their usual duties, makes the project even more interesting and exciting. The result of that innovation was the 3D application of Ebon Heath’s pattern on the sinks.

Ebon Heath explains that “it was interesting that it was not just me making a sink, but really them making art with me. It really was a two way exchange. I created a sink for them and they created art for me. They can put me on their poster and I can put them on my artwork. This makes it a true artist project, as I am not just putting my signature under something.”

True innovation happens when different value systems and strings of thought meet, which was the case in this project. Something seemingly simple to the outsider was actually a big step for both the artist and the brand. Remaining true to yourself, while doing something entirely new, is the difficulty with good innovation.

Watch the video here below to get a further behind the scenes look at the project.

Take a tour of the exhibition of the outcoming products after the jump.

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