Side Gallery

Side Gallery







Xavier Mañosa, founder of studio Apparatu, talks about his creative process and his recent ceramic collection for Side Gallery, a project consisting in combining ceramics with various materials to create new expressive forms of expression.

“There is a very beautiful idea that came from Joan Miró, who talked about the workshop as a garden, a garden where you take care of plants, and the plants are different, and one day you take care of one, then you go to another, and you watch them grow as you work with them, and this feeling happens also here in the worksho” Xavier Mañosa says. “And I keep this principle or idea present. There are different projects with different natures, different materials, different processes, and one day you work on one, and another day you go to another, and they all relate to each other.”

“The technical challenge, in the case of the pieces for Side Gallery, comes from the volume, the size, and in these large pieces, we work with a glaze that, for me, is very magical, but at the same time very toxic because its base is lead, it is red lead, and it is like the last glaze you would want to work with, but it has something very special, which is that the melting point of red lead is very low, and when it melts, it generates a tension that then transforms into a shine that is impossible to find in another glaze. And from here, we work with different oxides: manganese, which gives us the greys, red iron oxide, which gives us these caramel colors, and sometimes cobalt, but basically everything revolves around iron oxide and manganese, where we try to cover the surface of the piece evenly, and then, when it melts in the kiln, different gradients appear, and this shiny tension that only appears with red lead.”

“The magic that happens inside the kiln often cannot be repeated, so we spend a lot of energy trying to reproduce pieces that perhaps cannot be reproduced, and it is something I have to keep very clear in mind. Therefore, the piece has to be understood as unique and unrepeatable, and let it be and move on to something else. You can always use the same formula, but the result will be different. The authorship or the idea of the virtuous hand behind each piece disappears.

Designer image

Xavier Mañosa founded Apparatu in 2010 and, in that short space of time, he has become one of the most up and coming ceramicists of his generation. When he took that step, he was living in Berlin. Perhaps that distance helped him to finally dedicate himself to what he had seen his parents doing during his childhood and which he had rejected, as an act of defiance, during his training as an industrial designer. In his case, the most fascinating part is probably that it is a combination of the two – his perspective from a distance and his eagerness to experiment linked to his knowledge of his trade, drawn from his home background.

Until 2009, Mañosa had his creative base in Berlin, from where he returned to the family workshop, located in an old industrial estate in Barcelona, where ceramic products for the building industry used to be produced. Nowadays, it is actually a focal point for antiques, which gives it a most inspiring atmosphere.

What fundamentally distinguishes Mañosa as a modern-day ceramicist is his boldness when it comes to combining different materials and to exploring new forms of expression. Another question by whichXavier Mañosa has always set great store, from the outset, is the way in which his work is presented, which is obviously a reflection of his training as a designer and the fact that he belongs to the ‘digital generation’. On the one hand, his work stands out as a brand and, on the other, he raises its prominence through his Web site and by participating in numerous exhibitions and promotional events both inside Spain and elsewhere.

Pieces by Apparatu have been exhibited at contemporary design fairs and festivals inLondon, Frankfurt, Saint- Étienne, Tokyo, New York, México and Stockholm, as well as in Madrid and Barcelona.


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