Thomas Eyck and Hella Jongerius Give Classic Design a New Look

Both design stars in their own right, Thomas Eyck (the mind behind t.e.) and Hella Jongerius (the prominent Dutch industrial designer) have come together on a truly historic collaboration that we are excited to host in the GC Shop.

The two designers met through the centuries-old Dutch pottery company Royal Tichelaar Makkum— their work fittingly looks to the past for inspiration. Though they occupy different realms of design, the partnership is grounded in history for both designers. “Hella is interested in the history of the company [Royal Tichelaar Makkum] and the way they work; I am interested in merging design and history in contemporary items,” Eyck explained to us.

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Their divergent perspectives have allowed Eyck and Jongerius to draw on the rich history of majolica plates in a different ways, ultimately creating a minimal, abstract, and earthy reimagining of majolica’s staid familiarity. The colors of the painted designs on Eyck and Jongerius’s vases offer an old world charm, while the base (a rich cream color) adds a hand-crafted warmth. The vases are the perfect complement to a country aesthetic, a fresh breath of airy elegance. Though understated, they easily ground any outdoor table setting; one has a sense of the history the duo honors with their design.

Two Thomas Eyck vases

Andreana Bitsis

“Majolica plates are such an important part of Royal Tichelaar Makkum,” Eyck explained to GC. Royal Tichelaar Makkum is known historically for their Majolica plates: a style of mass-produced earthenware that is “roughly decorated” and designed to stand up to daily use. To make the plates affordable, only the front of the Dutch majolica was decorated with a more expensive white tin glaze, while the reverse side was given a cheap, clear lead glaze.

“In her design, Hella Jongerius emphasizes the transition between transparent and white by having the tableware immersed partly in the tin glaze,” Eyck revealed of their collaboration. “By doing this, she not only focuses attention on the production process by making it part of the decoration, but reveals the color of the Friesian clay for the first time in centuries. The result is…a contemporary allusion to history and special use of traditional skills.”

small vase

Andreana Bitsis

For Eyck, “the combination of the oldest company in Holland with one of the leading designers in the world” makes the collaboration a perfect fit for t.e.’s carefully-curated portfolio. The vases are at once storied and fresh, simple and sophisticated, artistic and fitting for home décor. Just as the original majolica pottery was, these vases are beautiful and tough enough for everyday use. Find them here in the GC Shop.

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