Yixing (pronounced ee-shing), is a collection of contemporary ceramics presented at the Salone del Mobile in a much celebrated installation named ‘Tea House’. The installation of 700 vertical and horizontal connections crafted in Ash is inspired by the iconic Chinese tea house and honours the timeless ritual of making and taking tea, so revered in Chinese culture.
During a trip to China, Christopher discovered Yixing ceramics in the Yuyuan market in Shanghai and was immediately captivated by its richness of colour and surface texture. Yixing ceramics can be traced back to the North Song Dynasty (960-1127 A.D.) when the properties of the material were celebrated as the finest in which to brew tea.
In an effort to broaden his relationship with cultures and crafts beyond Europe, Christopher set out to create a contemporary collection of ceramics using the same clay which had first been used for tea wares in the 9th century.
With a wide renewed interest in Chinese culture, the Yixing collection connects a global audience to the traditions of China. The collection reflects the desire of today’s consumers to seek out products with a strong narrative and heritage. Simple, yet elegant pieces which comprise a complete tableware collection including a tea service, plates, storage jars, jugs, vases, plates and bowls feature the same rich, red tones but with individual variation in colour making each piece unique.
Yixing ceramics are made using the famous purple Zisha clay from Yixing in Eastern China’s Jiangsu Province. Zisha clay has an excellent ability to retain heat, and remains slightly porous when fired. Over time, the flavours and volatilised oils in tea are absorbed into the material and released to enrich subsequent brews.
Essentially creating a journey through material, the Yixing collection is crafted by skilled artisans using ancient techniques practiced over centuries.
This project and the nature of the design puts a contemporary slant on ceramics unchanged for centuries. The collection goes beyond the traditional, looking with confidence to the future towards a new relationship between the world and Chinese craft and design.