300 Coloured Vases by Hella Jongerius
at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen


Dutch designer Hella Jongerius presents 300 porcelain vases coloured with layers of mineral and chemical glazes at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.

Produced in collaboration with porcelain brand Royal Tichelaar Makkum, the series uses historical recipes for glazes using materials like copper, cobalt, cadmium and iron, layered up with modern chemical glazes.

Misfit by Hella Jongerius at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Update: forty of the vases were damaged when a visitor to the museum became ill and fell over.

Misfit by Hella Jongerius at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

The remaining vases in the series are shown as part of a retrospective exhibition of Jongerius' work, entitled Hella Jongerius - Misfit, which continues until 13 February 2011.

Misfit by Hella Jongerius at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

See all our stories about Hella Jongerius »

Product photographs are by Gerrit Schreurs Fotografie.
Exhibition photographs are by Lotte Stekelenburg.

Here are some more details from Jongerius:

300 Coloured Vases by Hella Jongerius
On display in the exhibition ‘Hella Jongerius - Misfit’ (13 November 2010 – 13 February 2011)

This autumn Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is presenting the first Dutch retrospective exhibition of the designer Hella Jongerius. The exhibition is a unique survey of her work and provides an insight into her working method, experiments and innovative products. One of the most recent is a group of three hundred Coloured Vases (series 3), which will be exhibited for the first time in Rotterdam.

Misfit by Hella Jongerius at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

The three series of Coloured Vases are experiments in colour, in which an existing vase is used as a ‘canvas’. The first two series consisted of forty and forty-two different porcelain vases, partially coated with paint from the industrial colour ranges RAL (2003) and NCS (2007). The third series is currently being produced in close collaboration with the glaze experts at Royal Tichelaar Makkum.

Misfit by Hella Jongerius at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen


Whereas the first two series employed industrial paints, this series uses a combination of a hundred historical mineral recipes and a hundred modern chemical glaze recipes. Jongerius refers to the latter as the ‘fast-food’ colours of the modern ceramics industry. The mineral recipes contain ingredients such as cadmium (red), iron (brown), selenium (yellow), copper (green), cobalt (blue) and manganese (purple). The historical and modern colours are applied in layers in a variety of patterns resulting in optical blending: a kind of Pointillism on porcelain. The combinations of colours and patterns and experiments with the firing temperature result in new colours. These are not flat like industrial colours but are irregular, layered and lively like the colours we know from paintings.

Misfit by Hella Jongerius at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Jongerius believes that industry has focused too much on quantity and standardisation over the past few decades. Industry has created thousands of colours that are designed to look the same in all circumstances. These colours lack the irregularities that can provide a more beautiful visual experience such as those found in this series of Coloured Vases (series 3).Imperfection

Misfit by Hella Jongerius at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Hella Jongerius (1963) is one of the most important designers of her generation. In the 1990s she introduced imperfections and individuality into the industrial manufacturing process. Jongerius believes that the quality of craftsmanship is not legible in perfect products but only in the ‘misfits’ that betray the process and the hand of the maker. Many of her works, such as the Nymphenburg plates and the Frog Table, indicate the potential to contemporary design of historical motifs and repeat decorations.

Misfit by Hella Jongerius at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen


The exhibition Misfit at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen includes industrial products, unique experiments and numerous sketch models. All the objects are arranged by colour because this plays such an important role in Jongerius’s work. The combinations of objects, including well- known designs such as B-set, Long Neck & Groove Bottles, Repeat fabrics, the Polder Sofa and IKEA vases, explore the themes inherent in Hella Jongerius’s work.

Misfit by Hella Jongerius at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

The exhibition has been made possible by a contribution from the Ahrend Fonds, administered by the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds. ‘Hella Jongerius - Misfit’ is part of the official programme of Holland Art Cities 2009-2010.

See also:


Rotterdam Chair by
Hella Jongerius
Office Pets by
Hella Jongerius
Artificial flowers by
Hella Jongerius

Posted on Thursday December 23rd 2010 at 12:01 am by Catherine Warmann. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • mmm

    Unfortunately, a woman fainted and fell on it a week ago, making it an exhibition of 260 coloured vases for the time being.

    I hope I find time to go see it.

  • pietdejonge

    forty of these vases were broken when a visitor fell on them ten days ago.

  • Stijn

    Actually, it's 260 vases now, because a visitor got sick, fell, and destroyed 40 vases.
    Beautiful project though.

  • contour

    piet it's in holland language. provide an english link next time pls

    • MarcusDes

      Simple translation: the remaining 260 will be put in a circle again while ms. Jongerius wonders if she is going to recreate the installation with 40 new vases.

    • TeD

      uh google translate…

      ROTTERDAM – The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam last weekend a part of a valuable artwork by designer Hella Jongerius destroyed. That happened when a visitor became ill and fell on the artwork.

      A spokesperson said Monday. The artwork, called Colored Vases, consisted of three hundred hand-painted vases by Royal Tichelaar Makkum. The fall, forty vases destroyed. The damage is estimated at tens of thousands of euros, believed the spokeswoman.

      The vases stood in a circle and, although forty less, again in a circle. Jongerius still looking at whether this work is recreated. There are two: one for Boijmans and one that is sold commercially.

  • As a potter I'm a little puzzled why this is even considered on a design blog? A bunch of vases with some old glaze recipes…nothing really new or exciting there?