Underconstruction by Ornella Stocco


Underconstruction by Ornella Stocco

New Designers 2011: Spanish furniture and product design graduate Ornella Stocco has created a modular furniture system with joints made of porcelain.

Underconstruction by Ornella Stocco

Called Underconstruction, the system includes three different joints that can be used to build and reconfigure tables, coat pegs and storage rails from wooden poles.

Underconstruction by Ornella Stocco

Stocco made the pieces from extruded porcelain, joining the tubes by hand before firing them at high temperatures in an effort to make the fragile material as durable as possible.

Underconstruction by Ornella Stocco

Transfers highlight the unusual material choice by referencing traditional Delft pottery.

Underconstruction by Ornella Stocco

Stocco designed the system, called Underconstruction, while studying furniture and product design at London Metropolitan University.

Underconstruction by Ornella Stocco

New Designers Part 2 took place from 6 to 9 July in London. See all our stories about the work on show here.

Here are some more details from Ornella Stocco:

Underconstruction: porcelain elbows for furniture assemblage

Just like plumbing fittings, Underconstruction consists of porcelain elbows that connect wood sticks in order to assemble furniture. I wanted to push forward the boundaries of porcelain’s common values by playing with its symbol of fragility and delicacy, and give a new use to it. On one hand, the porcelain elbows function as hardware fittings giving freedom to the user to customise his/her own piece of furniture. On the other, they create a familiar and warm domestic construction.

Along my design studies, I have been mostly interested in the experimentation with materials and how these can be distanced from their common assumptions and be placed in new contexts. At that moment, materials will transmit a complete different approach where the boundaries of how they should/could be used disappear. Underconstruction is one manifestation of this experimentation where the goal was to combine wood and porcelain within a functional structure by looking for the most suitable form and state of porcelain in order to make it utile. For that reason, the elbows have been high fired and therefore vitrified so they reach their most resistant strength level. The blue willows transfers immediately explain the material it’s made of.

Materials: porcelain and ash wood.

  • zee

    pretty when unpainted.

    what is the strength of this assembly though?…
    i understand the experimental nature of the exercise, but even if made 'as durable as possible', is porcelain really the appropriate material for resisting the kind of forces that go through these joints?

    the idea is rich in potential though, maybe more for replacing non-loadbearing items made of plastic in our daily lives…

    • Agreed. A high-impact polymer (semi-flexible?) would be a better choice.

  • guy

    so dutch its not even dutch anymore.

  • martin

    if you are studying furniture and product design and you come to a resolution that this particular product is feasible, realistic and sensible for the material, the education you are being provided is lacking.

  • Michael

    Maybe a little damning Martin! I like it, can think of interesting uses for it and would even consider paying for it. The latter point rather suggesting your analysis might be flawed. Perhaps you were rather too satisfied with a pleasingly crafted comment that admittedly made me laugh than you should be with with the content of the slur. A little ego showing through?
    David Kohn (British Architect) produced a beautiful exhibition using a similar theme (albeit using more robust materials for a public building) which goes some way to proving the concept at least.

  • zheng

    I think ceramic as a choice of material might not be a bad idea in this case – especially after seeing a sample of the furniture typologies that could be created constructed. The ease of constructing a mold for porcelain certainly gives the material an advantage over plastic, and small quantities of parts could be quickly designed and produced if necessary.

    Having said that I feel the joints require a bit more resolution (just a personal opinion).

  • aditya chiplunkar

    The joinery details are suiting the purpose of making a structure stand erect, but will they serve in similar fashion for a seating?