The Pottery Workshop DESIGN STUDIO (2008-13), established by Takeshi Yasuda and Caroline Cheng in 2008, was strategically built as a resource for artists and designers of all levels to be able to design and produce very specific projects in the world famous porcelain city of Jingdezhen, China. This same year, I had just finished my graduate studies and was hired to manage the Design Studio (now called Yi Design).
Jingdezhen, considered to be the “Capital of Porcelain,” has been leading the world in porcelain production since the beginning of the Song Dynasty. Today, the city continues to thrive on the ceramic industry, which over time has become an interesting synthesis of old and new, industry and artisan. From both an historical and professional standpoint, it is a unique place steeped in tradition, techniques, resources and most importantly, possibility. Below are images of a large pot being made at one of the many small workshops that can be found around Jingdezhen.
During my tenure at the Design Studio, our goal was to provide the facilities, resources and professional services that allowed clients from around the world to have unique and specific designs made in Jingdezhen, in both high quality and limited quantities. Unlike larger manufacturers, we were able to work with clients on individual, one of a kind pieces as well as larger quantities of no set limit. With an international staff, fluent in both English and Chinese, we put priority on the importance of communication with our clients.
Projects were typically separated into two parts, (1) prototyping and (2) production. When making prototypes, a start-up fee was paid that covered all costs of the set-up and initialization of a project (i.e. model making, molds, glaze, firing, troubleshooting, etc). As samples and prototypes were completed, they were shipped to the client for inspection and confirmation. Once all necessary alterations and adjustments had been made to the design and it was ready for production, we asked that half of the production fee be paid, the remaining half to be paid upon the client’s receipt and inspection of the wares.
PRICING: The costs of a project was determined by many factors. Project details such as finishes and or glazes, number of firings, product size and complexity of forms, are a few of the many things that were considered when pricing a project for a client. The start-up fee of any project would generally range between five and eight-thousand RMB per project. The production fees would have a much greater range of price, as they were much more specifically affected and assessed by quantities and the details of production.
SCHEDULE/TIMELINE: Typically, a project would take three to four months to complete, from beginning to end. Prototyping generally took six to ten weeks to both make and confirm, and the production of a project could take anywhere from four to twelve weeks to complete. Just as there are many factors that determine the costs of a project, there are also many factors that determine it's schedule.
Clients we worked with included but were not limited to: Cloud-9, Han Feng Designs, the Neue Galerie, Paul Mathieu, Sabrina Fung Fine Arts, Alan Chan Design Co., and Eva Menz. Below are select commissions that I contracted, organized and oversaw the production of during my time in the Design Studio (June 2008 - June 2011).
Lost Heaven Home (Shanghai / 2009)
With this project, I worked directly with Armelle Nguyen Than and Lidia Serpa to create vases, salad bowls and tea-sets for the Lost Heaven Home boutique, an addition to the Lost Heaven restaurants in Shanghai, China. (Designs by Armelle Nguyen Than & Lidia Serpa)
The VIP Room of the Dutch Pavilion - 2010 Shanghai World Expo
For this commission, I worked directly with Karin An Rijlaarsdam, the founder of Cloud-9, to make over 500 gold relief porcelain tiles, porcelain diamond lights, and a larger than life gold-lustered porcelain bell. These items were all used in the interior design of the VIP Room of the Dutch Pavilion for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, China. (Designs by Karin An Rijlaarsdam)
The Peninsula Hotel - Shanghai, China
In 2010, Sabrina Fung Fine Arts (SFFA) of Hong Kong, hired the PWS Design Studio to work with them to create unique ceramic objects to be installed in the interiors of the Peninsula Hotel that was being built in Shanghai, China. All of the designs were based on a combination of an Art Deco and traditional Chinese theme.