The Danish design collaboration Meyer-Lavigne consists of Kristine Meyer and Sabine Lavigne who both graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts specialising in ceramics and glass.
The duo works with a variety of materials, including ceramics, textiles, wood and print.
Meyer-Lavigne design and produce their own line of porcelain. They create products for the home, they provide a service as interior designers and they write columns for home and lifestyle magazines worldwide.
Meyer-Lavigne has a quirky, delicate, poetic and amusing style which often expresses a sense of humour. Jointly the different products create a wonderful universe of odd beings, friendly souls and fairytale images.
Small snippets from a world we can discover and elaborate as we use the objects in our homes. Meyer-Lavigne is keen the make the process and the “sender” behind the product apparent: ”We believe it is important in today’s society to be surrounded by items that have been given time and consideration.” The materials used, the sensual and the “presence of hands” is always a high priority, just as the quirky and surprising elements that tickle our curiosity, inspire us to continue the delicate tale of Meyer-Lavigne.
THE DELICATE TALE OF MEYER-LAVIGNE
Plates, plant pots and vases are items which we might well find in our great grandmothers drawing room and they are not obvious on the list of approved, sought after designs.
But for Meyer-Lavigne they are. Meyer-Lavigne are not afraid to admire something the rest of us have hidden away in our cupboards and drawers. Even during student days the duo were fascinated by the “altmodische”; the less traditional, the decorated, the areas of designs that were seen as taboo by others. At this point in time, they started the first of a series of projects using porcelain, exploring ways of reintroducing it in new concepts.
These projects were the seeds to the revolution that sprouted in those years amongst young designers who wanted to redevelop the classic and very traditional use of porcelain. In many ways this stimulates many of the duos later projects and productions. .
At this point in time figurines and porcelain were still surrounded by the stigma of great grandmother’s lounge, coffee mornings and fine china, an ambivalent symbol of middle class and old-fashioned ornaments.
But it was this stigma of porcelain as a material, that exposed this area to a younger generation of designers and painters, whom from different directions embraced it and explored its possibilities and created a new approach to the medium.
The approach by Meyer-Lavigne opened up a treasure chest of forbidden and overlooked elements like the decorative, the almost excessively decorated, the old-fashioned and granny-like, the funny and slightly unnerving, which through the duos interpretation and new thinking has brought porcelain back to into our lives as something more than just asexual buy-to-bin tableware.
The decoration and the very graphic approach to ceramics has become Meyer-Lavigne’s trademark. They are simultaneously relating to the classic design tradition when considering form, function and material but at the same time adding a quirkiness that leans towards something else, something more visual, tactile and adventurous. Meyer-Lavigne are operating in a fruitful combination of design, art and sculpture. The illustrations and the graphic universe is far from minimalist Danish design but the shape of the vases and the flowerpots are classic, understated, rounded and carefully executed. The simple, no frills, geometric shapes provide a calming affect on the decorated and imaginative. The items are hand painted which adds a personal touch and many of Meyer-Lavignes objects, eg. the hand decorated plates, are unique, each with their own specific composition, curiosities and character.
The graphic approach has translated into a universe of free-rein fairytales and very individual beings, animals and characters that appear over the ivory porcelain through the fine strokes of the pencil.
The dark lines are accompanied by delicate pastels and more colourful touches.
The dew and the raindrops fall in neat little drops across the vase onto a lonely blackbird, a brolly with a butterfly or a pipe smoking snail.
Hot air balloons, shooting stars and confetti inhabit a strange coexistence with gun shooting cowboy dogs, skeleton heads and pink flamingos adorning recycled plates. The designers create tales which are left for the individual to continue and finish. It is a poetic, childish and playful universe, but there is a hint of something “resilient”, something powerful. An oddness that is both funny and unnerving which lifts the universe beyond the decorative stage and into an awareness of the thoughts and messages behind it.
Humour plays a major role in Meyer-Lavigne’s delicate tales. Bringing oddities or intrusions of something undefined into the otherwise heavy design tradition. A shaft of light, which makes us look again, draw a smile and maybe even reflect on what we have seen. So when we are pulled in by the optimism that surrounds the designs by Meyer-Lavigne we are also becoming aware of the considerations behind the ambiguous image and the double entendre. Maybe yet again Meyer-Lavigne will turn out to be forerunners of a trend we as yet haven’t quite defined. A trend in which we find more and more younger designers and artists are using humour as a tool to capture a snippet of the very complex and dubious society we are living in.
Meyer-Lavignes delicate tale continues along winding lanes, diversions and unexplored paths. It never ends as the tales are spreading out into homes, in which they create their own stories, continue and become shaped by the life that now embraces and uses them.
By Inge Marie Hahn Møller
MA, Art historian.
Translated by Mette Kjelstrøm Page
Den hvide kødby
1699 Copenhagen V
Phone +45 399 01 068
Kristine Meyer +45 272 10 120
Sabine Lavigne +45 302 32 368