Studio Pottery London, designed by FLINT, is a newly completed studio and gallery space in London’s Belgravia, for Studio Pottery Director Lucy Attwood and Artistic Director Gregory Tingay.
Located within vibrant Eccleston Yards – a development owned and managed by Grosvenor, combining new retail, restaurant and leisure amenities – the new studio is dedicated to the teaching and practising of wheel-thrown ceramics, offering classes and events, and also includes a gallery space
Four great display windows create an attractive, sunlit environment for the makers, showcasing temporary exhibits alongside works created by Gregory Tingay, the studio’s Artistic Director and resident potter – while providing views into the teaching space. As night falls, the windows transform into a glowing showcase of creative activity with potters visible within.
“Studio Pottery London is a spectacular, beautiful new studio. Are we at The Bauhaus, or The Wiene Werkstätte, or in Central London? This is a place of community – a wonderful, expression of communality. Pottery is a central art according to Gauguin – pottery is transformational.” (Edmund de Waal, ceramicist and author)
FLINT has designed a ‘landscape’ of monolithic plinths that are easily moveable and adjustable, allowing the display area to accommodate a wide-range of ceramic types. The plinths are made from a range of different materials – such as metal, stone and timber – while screens reference a Japanese aesthetic, providing partial visibility through to the workshop behind. The generous windows are designed to intrigue passers-by, encouraging them to engage in the pottery-making process – this was one of FLINT’s key design concepts.
The creative collaboration between FLINT’s Associate Director Vesna Aksentijevic and Studio Pottery London found its origins in pottery-making in a former North London studio which was predecessor and inspiration for this project. The different character and demands of the new studio shaped the relationship between architect/designer and client/artist in a dynamic process of conversation, shared ideas, creative vision and continuing dialogue. The common experience of working with clay and the desire to create a studio space with a particular atmosphere and look, informed the collaborative process, rooted as it was in friendship as well as a love of the process and history of studio pottery. Initiated in January 2019, work commenced in May and was completed in July.
Working with a previously empty unit, FLINT has sought to unify the various spaces in a subtle and cohesive way, adopting a minimal palette of materials such as plywood, glass and timber. This aesthetic provides a muted backdrop to complement the activity and processes of working with clay, creating a calm and inspiring environment.
FLINT’s design approach was to create a bespoke setting for the various ceramic processes taking place in an urban pottery studio. The studio is designed as a series of open spaces aimed at supporting the different ways in which potters work – from the practical stages of clay throwing, turning, drying, firing and glazing, to teaching and displaying ceramics. Generous circulation allows for the manoeuvring of equipment – moving pots to drying racks before firing, or moving pieces on throwing batts to storage shelves for continued work – while a glazing area has been created for use both by members and pupils; kiln firing is conducted under the supervision of a technician.
The entrance features a glazed vitrine showcasing ceramic works that leads visitors into the main multi-functional area. Centred around a library, this space can be configured for lectures and group workshops, while other sections are divided using delicate black- framed glass partitions and open plywood shelving. The construction of these partitions enables the space to maintain a sense of openness and light, while ensuring a degree of separation and privacy. FLINT used reclaimed and recycled pottery boards to design wall- shelving specifically adapted to the needs of the studio.
The teaching workshop has been designed to accommodate an optimum number of pupils, with bespoke six-wheel benches clustered in two-class units, adaptable to allow for larger workshops when required. A separate studio for the resident potter provides a designated, private space where he can interact with members and students, and also create his own artworks.
Vesna Aksentijevic, Associate Director, FLINT, says:
“It has been fantastic collaborating with Lucy and Gregory on this project. We were driven by a desire to create a space in the area that encourages people to participate in the discipline of pottery-making, which can be wonderfully artistic and collaborative. We feel our design of this new space showcases the remarkable work of Studio Pottery London, and look forward to seeing it develop”.