All Articles
All Articles
FOOD + DRINK

Christien van Bussel Ceramics

The ceramicist embarks on a custom collection for Dublin's premier coffeehouse

by Julie Wolfson
on 14 February 2014
3FE-03.jpg

Employing largely traditional techniques for working with clay and wood, Christien van Bussel is based at a remote, idyllic studio in Aughrim, a small village near Ireland's capital city Dublin. Her work caught the attention of Colin Harmon at 3FE. He was looking for a way to highlight an item on the 3FE coffee menu called “the set," which was designed as a way to reintroduce the idea of drinking espresso to his customers.

“I've always struggled with cups when it comes to coffee. It's important to have the right heat retention, aeration space, milk ratio, size, shape and texture,” explains Harmon. “Much of what was on offer was designed and made for mass consumption commodity coffee. I wanted something that was a better fit for what we are doing at 3FE.” Harmon and consultant Orlaith Ross collaborated on a set of cups with van Bussel. The idea was to develop a design of the classic cup that would help present coffee with and without milk in a balanced way. “The cup is too small for a traditional cappuccino however with the roast and flavor profiles that we prefer at 3FE, it's perfect,” said Harmon. “Conversely, the cup is too large for a traditional espresso, but it's perfect for cooling the espresso and enhancing the aromatics."

3FE-2a.jpg 3FE-02b.jpg

van Bussel studied ceramics in Holland at Minerva Art Academy with Geert Lap. Her process begins with creating her own plaster moulds. Each vessel is fashioned from clay-slips, the moulds are then fired in an electric kiln and glazed with a spray-gun to allow the possibility of air brushed designs. For the 3FE cups, a clean white glaze gives them a classic minimalist aesthetic.

van Bussel describes the process for making the new 3FE cups: “The model of the mug was made on the plaster-wheel. The mould is cast over the model to get the negative shape in which the clay slip is poured. It stays in the mould for about an hour. The porous plaster mould soaks up the water in the clay until a thin layer of clay gets stuck to the sides of the mould. After an hour, the wall thickness is right for the mug. The clay dries up quickly. After half an hour, the rim is trimmed. The mug can be taken out in a couple of hours after which the mould can be cast again. When the mugs are dry they are made smooth with a sponge, then they are ready to be fired and glazed."

vanBussel-01.jpg

“In my work I use strong and monumental shapes,” she says. “Geert Lap showed me how to keep shapes simple. I also learned from him the importance of fluent lines to obtain balanced pieces. In art college I came across the ceramics department where I discovered my preference to work in 3D—especially in clay. The shapes I made on the wheel and in moulds were easy to cut and put together to discover different shapes. I like the finish and the quality of a glazed piece."

While Lap was obviously an influence, Van Bussel also cites architecture as a large part of the shapes she creates. “I have always taken pictures of modern architecture like the buildings of Calatrava; the simple and strong shapes give me ideas for my designs,” she says. “The symmetric and monumental shapes of the Art Deco designs with sometimes the repetition of a shape in the decoration appeals to me." The picturesque land and Wicklow Mountains that surround her studio inform the work too. She tells us, “In the morning I feed the hens, donkeys and goats. After that I take the dogs for a walk up our cul-de-sac lane over the hills with beautiful views. The nature and silence of the surroundings make focusing on my work easy."

3FE-01.jpg

These handmade limited edition cups embody what 3FE aims to achieve with their coffee menu. To compliment the simple aesthetic of the cups, wood boxes were crafted by Mike and Fiona Snow of Snow. The Scandinavian beech box has been designed to be reminiscent of vintage coffee chests. The set are available from 3FE.

Studio images and tea set photo courtesy of Christien van Bussel, all others courtesy of 3FE

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance
Loading More...