- Almeida Fernandes
“IN Portugal, we have an emotional and nurturing connection with ceramics”
Updated: Nov 26, 2022
Interview with the ceramist Maria Ana Vasco Costa
“Each location gives us many clues, in which I am inspired to do each specific project. The surroundings, the project, the relationship with the architect, the dialogue, discovering something together..."
Today we present a collaboration between the ceramic artist Maria Ana Vasco Costa and our studio. A new design that, over the course of two years, represented a close collaboration between the two, and which ended with a final result representative of the respect for the friendship between the artist and the studio, as well as the quality of both.
Maria Ana Vasco Costa studied architecture and began her professional career in the area in London, where she started working. Ceramics came later, already back in Portugal, when she was looking for new areas of interest. “I did several searches and workshops, all to do with arts and creativity. That's when I discovered ceramics and realized that it was my life's passion. I really felt it in my body and it all made sense to me.” tell us the artist.
“There is a very challenging part, which is idealizing something that can be difficult to achieve. There is a big searching phase and things take time to be executed and to mature."
It was at that time that she made the decision to change her profession and deepen her knowledge of ceramics. Maria Ana took the course in ceramics at Ar.Co, where she learned the different techniques and where she developed her own authorship. “Tiles and ceramics are part of our tradition and our identity. Growing up with it, we have an emotional and nurturing connection with both.”
Since then, she has been working on different projects, giving wings to her creativity. “What I like most about the creative process is the limited space” begins by explaining Maria Ana. “The location gives many clues, which inspire me to do each specific project. The surroundings, the design, the relationship with the architect, the dialogue, discovering something together… everything gives me many clues of what I think can be done in a given building, wall or place.”
But there are specific challenges that vary. Here, the artist confesses that “there is a very challenging part, which is idealizing something that can be difficult to achieve. There is a big searching phase and things take time to be executed and to mature. Only after it has matured I like to show it to the client, that is, when I am 100% convinced that it is the idea that should go ahead and be proposed.”
“When a project is developed by an artist and in complementarity with the architecture team, it seems to me that we have added value. It gives the project another meaning, different paths are opened"
After overcoming this first challenge, comes production and seeing whether the final result meets expectations. “These moments also make the creative process more interesting. Seeing the materialization of what we had in mind and seeing a piece multiplied to make surfaces, where we can discover new forms of the project.”
In the specific case with our studio, the collaboration arose for a specific design, in Algés, as well as “a great friendship that has accompanied the work of both for a long time. It was a huge challenge, because from a great friendship a design is born.”
But from a connection of knowledge and arts, it is expected that the result will be improved by the different points of view. “When a project is developed by an artist and in complementarity with the architecture team, it seems to me that we have added value. It gives the project another meaning, different paths are opened where there is not only the application of a coating, but thinking about the place, the color, the feelings that come from the presence of the material and the installation.”
"This project was of great importance for me, because it was the first time I tried this material and it was great to have the freedom and confidence to explore.”
As a former architect, Maria Ana says that sometimes she thinks that the profession has many obstacles and concerns that can make an architect lack the freedom to think more openly about a specific subject. “What I do in projects is to think constantly and, with that, bring different experiences and a connection with the project that reveals new things to us.”
But the end result speaks for itself and is representative of the good relationship that has existed throughout its development. “Since the first meeting, in which we outlined where the ceramic intervention would take place, there has been a mutual construction work. The initial idea was different and ended up covering the benches on the balconies. It was at this point that I suggested ceramic coating, which was not a tile. This project was really important to me, because it was the first time I tried this material and it was great to have the freedom and confidence to explore.”
As friends there were more moments of debating different ideas, Maria Ana tells us. At work, the process was more fluid and the path was developed together. “We completed each other's ideas and it went really well. Perhaps because of the respect that friendship implies, we were attentive to each other's sensitivity.”
The collaboration resulted in a project with a different impact and visibility! Soon, in an upcoming publication, more information will be shared!