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Commune Chocolates

Chocolate designer Valerie Gordon weighs in on her new collaboration

by Julie Wolfson in Food + Drink on 03 November 2010

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Inspired by Byzantine tiles, Commune Design and Valerie Confections collaborated on a new collection of handmade chocolates. The cardboard box comes printed with an image of the tile design inside, which itself is comprised of 49 pieces of 72% bittersweet chocolate embellished with chocolate transfers made from colored, tempered cocoa butter.

We asked Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections to share some of the collaborative process with Cool Hunting.

What aspects of the Commune aesthetic are similar to creating chocolates?

Commune's approach to materials is like our approach to ingredients. Everything is built around honoring the natural aesthetic of the materials, or in our case the flavors of the ingredients. We each also have a very clean, uncluttered look to our work. There's a great quote, alternately attributed to Mies van der Rohe and R.M. Schindler: "An interesting plainness is the most difficult and most precious thing to achieve." I think, conciously or unconciously, that's what we're each trying to achieve.

How did this collaboration come about?

We did their holiday gifts one year, and have been friends for a while. Then Roman and I were chatting at a party, talking about our various collaborations and we both just realized that we should do something together.

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Where did the idea of the tile come from?

It originally came from Steven, one of the principals at Commune. The tile is his design, and we all started talking about how to translate it into chocolate. Then I figured out the proportion of it, and that it should go in a box that looks like you'd get tile in it. Originally, we were going to seal the box with a really wide rubber band, but that evolved into the graphic sticker that they designed. Completely organic, and very easy.

How much does that fact that both companies are located in L.A. have an impact on the final design?

Hugely. Especially with something like this collaboration, where you have to see, and touch, and taste to really understand how it's all coming together. And the city and your surroundings continually impact your aesthetic. The same forces and inspirations play on us, which would be different if we were both in New York or Chicago.

Commune Chocolates by Valerie Confection is available at the Valerie Confections shop near downtown Los Angeles and online at Valerie Confections and at the Commune Design Community Shop.

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