Rational Beauty

Atelier NL

2008 / Project Drawn from Clay—Noordoostpolder
The Dutch have a long history of reclamation of marshes and fenland resulting in 3000 polders nationwide. A polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments known as dikes which means that the land has no connection with outside water. The English have a saying “God created the world, but the Dutch created Holland”. The Noordoostpolder is the largest land area in the Netherlands and was made to create additional land for agriculture and of course to improve flood protection.

Atelier NL, the Eindhoven-based design studio of Lonny van Ryswyck and Nadine Sterk took up residence in the area to better study the social and agricultural perceptions within the region. The Drawn From Clay series captures these local distinctions as each piece is made from a specific plot of soil taken from various farms across the 285 miles square polder.

“We wanted to make tableware so that the vegetables prepared for dinner could be served from vessels made from the same soil the vegetables came out of,” explains Ryswyck on their site.

Each form was cast-molded at a consistent temperature in order to compare the differences between color and texture from the various soils. The designers cleverly devised a ratio system for determining the size of each piece and stamped each vessel with a geo-code reference to match the plot from where the soil came from.

The project is beautifully photographed by Paul Scala.

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“We wanted to make tableware so that the vegetables prepared for dinner could be served from vessels made from the same soil the vegetables came out of.”
—Lonny van Ryswyck

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