“Working on a bespoke project is what we enjoy doing most,” says Cristina Vezzini, one half of London design duo Vezzini & Chen, which brings together her ceramic practice and Stan Chen’s glassblowing skills to intriguing effect. Take their Floating Garden installation for the long pond at Forde Abbey on the Dorset/Somerset border. “The installation was commissioned by Flow Gallery and Somerset Art Works,” says Vezzini of the 130 glass and ceramic urchin-like forms resting atop the water, shimmering in the light.
Lake Garda-born Vezzini and Taiwanese Chen met and began working together in 2012 while at the Royal College of Art. Their London studio has since been called upon to create a bespoke wallcovering for the Aston Martin headquarters in Tokyo, a 7m-long chandelier for a Kensington hallway (it took several months to achieve the perfect ceramic grey tone for the walls), and recently, two pendant lights for Heal’s – Diploria (from £159) and Ginkgo (from £189) – in their signature textured ceramics. “We are inspired by each other’s craftsmanship and a shared interest in the natural world,” says Vezzini. “We are also both scuba divers and are fascinated by how the light filters through the waters onto coral and other marine life.”
This passion can be seen in such pieces as Water and Sand (from £2,400), a wall installation of myriad glass and porcelain forms, their surfaces responding to “marks created by the wind on sand and the ripples created by drops of water. Each element is individually handmade and thus entirely unique.” Another custom wall installation is called Shades of White (from £2,400, to order), composed of delicate, hand-carved ceramic discs that echo the amorphous and textural plates (from £26 each) they created for London’s Spring restaurant.
Lighting is at the heart of their output. The Geo pendant lamp (£650) combines a glass outer sphere, dotted with bubbles from the hand-blown process, with a geometrically carved bone-china core, while the Radiolaria Cloud floor lamp (£3,750) is an 80cm-high glass column filled with detailed ceramic “seeds”. “We’ve been working on a new 2.1m-tall new floor light for months,” says Vezzini of a piece that will be unveiled at Adrian Sassoon gallery in New York in November. But their ambitions don’t end there: “We would love to create a huge chandelier for the Victoria and Albert Museum.” For this talented young duo, this design dream seems entirely achievable.