The Ridge Vase by Studio Kaksikko presents a new way to display flowers through its sculptural expression along with an artful character when not in use. Wanting to explore the craftmanship that goes into each vase, we went on a trip to city of Alcobaça, Portugal to explore the process of the design, stopping by the moldmaker and ceramic factory that produces the Ridge Vase.
In the western area of central Portugal is the city of Alcobaça, a small town with roughly 15,000 inhabitants, placed in a valley along the rivers of Alcoa and Baça from where the city takes its name. Located on a residential area is the workshop of João, a moldmaker for more than forty years. After designers Studio Kaksikko had made the first mock-ups of the Ridge Vase in paper, João set out to translate the design into handmade molds that could be used to sculpt the ceramic vase.
After having finalized the first mold, João went onto make what is referred to as the mother mold, handmade in four different sections to ensure a minutely precise result. From there, a number of production molds are made in hand and tested at the ceramic factory to ensure that all dimensions and details are perfectly communicated into the final piece.
Due to the detailed reliefs on the vase and to produce a design in a high level of quality, the production molds can be used between 50 to 70 times per mold before being replaced by new ones.
After the handmade production molds have been finalized, production begins some 30 minutes drive away from João's workshop at a second-generation ceramic factory with roughly 70 employees that has been running for more than 40 years.
Here, liquid clay is poured into the plaster molds to shape the Ridge Vase, leaving it to sit for two hours before turning the mold upside down to remove the excess of clay. After that, the mold is opened, allowing for the vase to dry before being fired at 1000° Celsius for about eight hours.
Next, the Off-White version of the vase receives an interior glaze along with an outside water-based coating to enhance the structure of the ceramic surface. Meanwhile, the Terracotta edition receives an interior glaze for an elegant expression.
Finally, the vases are fired at 1100° Celsius for another 8 hours before being dipped in a water-based solution to close any porous holes.
Want to learn about Studio Kaksikko's ideas for the design? Click here to explore!