Designer Couple Combines Form and Functionality

Founded by the creative duo Natalia Gruszecka and Jakub Kwarciński, both graduates of ceramics at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland, ENDE Ceramics is engaged in designing and manufacturing contemporary porcelain products which combine aesthetic appreciation with daily use. Each item is characterized by a surprising combination of modern form and traditional feel, with elegant detail and a light-hearted approach and use of humor. The intriguing and quality collection is enjoyed by art connoisseurs worldwide.

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Tell us a bit about yourself – what’s your background and when did you first develop your interest in ceramic design? We work together. We design, manufacture, promote, sell and run our business together. Our goal is to combine modern urban looks with the best quality and luxurious materials. All of our products are handmade, sold and shipped all over the globe. Our favorite medium is porcelain, from which we craft handmade practical items such as cups, mugs and vases.

One of our more recognizable designs are porcelain doll head cups. The cups come in several forms: white or black, with classic, gold-plated or painted handles. The idea came about during a work experience at the Ćmielów Porcelain Factory. It was in a storeroom there that Natalia found a pre-war mould for casting porcelain dolls that she used in her design.

What is your creative and development process like, and how has your technique evolved? Our approach to design is based primarily on thinking about the form. Of course, the products must be usable, but the functionality is not our primary goal. We look for harmony of shape, balance, and the beauty of the object. At the same time, we invariably ask ourselves whether we would like to own a the cup or vase like that. Does it have a certain element that makes it unique, noticeable, and could it steal the heart of a potential owner?

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What sort of materials do you work with primarily? Our favorite material is porcelain. We love it because of its quality, pure white color and transparency. You can make objects so thin it’s as if they were made from paper.

It is a technologically demanding material. Porcelain is very fragile but at the same time surprisingly resilient. It is possible to stand on a porcelain bowl and it won’t break. At 1220 degrees Celsius (2228F ) porcelain becomes so gentle and smooth that all sharp angles are lost and its fascinating pure whiteness becomes transparent. In such conditions, it becomes possible to create a special type of porcelain called Bone China, with which Natalia Gruszecka works.

Describe your studio to us – what’s essential in a good work environment? We have separate areas for every stage of production; a station for casting with liquid porcelain mass, a station for drying and retouching. With a high quality material such as porcelain, attention to detail is very important. You have to keep everything scrupulously clean in order to retain porcelain’s whiteness. However, the most important way to cultivate a good, creative environment at work is through great background music and a good atmosphere among co-workers.

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What do you think of the roles of beauty and utility when it comes to everyday use objects? There is a quote we like, by designer Saul Bass: “I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.” We couldn’t agree more. We love to create and surround ourselves with beautiful objects (practical and not). How we live, how we dress etc. –  it’s all part of our identity.

Any tips on balancing work and life? We’re just starting to get a grip on this ourselves. Running our own business and a family with two children is quite a balancing act.  We’re learning how and when to rest, recharge, relax, set boundaries. We want to dedicate a lot of time to our children, as well as run a successful business. The solution is in developing mad organizational skills.

What inspires you today? 
Typically, inspiration for our projects come from our own needs. We make a cup from which we would like to drink a cup of coffee in the morning, and at the same time we want make it into something special. When working on the shape we find inspiration in a visual culture or other art forms such as dance or music .

For additional information, visit ENDE Ceramics.

Images by Magdalena Oczadly. 

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