21st Century ceramics

English Hedgerow

There were some very exciting interiors products at the new Home exhibition when I popped in last Sunday, and I was particularly curious to check out the launch of the world's first augmented reality ceramics! This incredible concept was dreamed up in the febrile minds of Jason Jameson & James Hall (from internationally award-winning animation studio Unanico Group), and one of Britain’s most talented ceramic designers, Andrew Tanner. This porcelain plate was created especially for Royal Winton, and it demonstrates the skill of a contemporary designer that has an empathy for craft and tradition, whilst also bringing something new to the table (quite literally in this case). Andrew Tanner was explaining to me how this project was designed to bring together the past, present and future in the British tradition of porcelain. Whilst chintz is something which is mostly associated with the ghost of ceramics past, Tanner has worked with Chintz very successfully on many occasions, bringing it bang up to date. What differed with this design though, is that the Chintz pattern itself, rather than being taken from a pattern book and modernised, was created from scratch and completely re-invented and deliberately made to be futuristic. When I was chatting to Paul Laikin, the MD of Unanico, I used  the words "mind-boggling" and he explained to me that these are the words he hears the most when people talk about augmented reality! So, how does all this tekkie stuff work then? Well, basically, you get yourself an Iphone or Ipad, download the English Hedgerow app, hold over the plate, and hit "start", and the lovely woodland creatures fly and scamper around the plate - it's pretty much as if the animal designs are brought to life! The designer and animators worked together on the whole project - including the plate itself, and it is very much a fully realised concept. ...and whilst this collectors' piece started out as something of an experiment, a little hedgerow birdie did tell me that there could be plans afoot for a collection that the whole family could use on a daily basis too - just remember that you heard it here first!