Atro-City collection by Emma Johnson Ceramics
At its time of emergence in post-war Britain, Brutalist architecture intended to symbolise a modern utopia. It aimed to provide a new type of social housing which would transform society through architecture, but by the 1970s it had gained a negative reputation; being labeled as ugly, inhuman and brutal. Recently, however, people have begun to embrace these post-war 'concrete monstrosities', and the popularity of buildings including the Barbican and Trellick Tower have increased dramatically.
'Atro-City', a collection of Brutalist inspired functional objects revolving around the serving of tea, celebrates this revival. Each piece incorporates Brutalist aesthetics in a fresh and modern light, far away from past brutal associations. Brutalist design philosophies including 'Form Follows Function', 'Truth to Materials' and 'Synthesis of Hand and Machine' are also explored, with carefully considered design choices reflecting these notions.
Forms have been dictated by the functional needs of each piece, balanced with typical characteristics of Brutalist architecture, including heavy forms and asymmetrical proportions. Instead of recreating typical aesthetics associated with concrete, the clean simplicity of porcelain with additional beech components signifies the changes in opinion surrounding Brutalist architecture in the years since its birth. Materials are permitted to speak for themselves, with fully stained porcelain clay bodies enhanced with a simple transparent glaze, and base sections left unglazed to remind users of the natural refined qualities of porcelain. Although each object displays a similar aesthetic to those of a machine made piece, they are entirely handmade using small batch production techniques.