Interview with Atlas Crafts


Interview with Atlas Crafts founders Isabell Gatzen and Werner Ladinig.

LIGATURE: Hello Isabell and Werner, how are you?

Hi Tiffany, thank you, we are very excited right now. We just received the full Edition N°1 production, which is a short run collection of 100 porcelain vessels, consisting of 24 unique designs. This week we launched the collection here in Zürich.

L: Isabell we already interviewed you in 2015, can you introduce yourselves as a team?

The founding team of Atlas Crafts consists of Werner Ladinig and myself. Werner is an entrepreneur, and is currently responsible for operations and sales. I am responsible for the creative brand direction. In addition to being friends for more than 10 years, we compliment each other in our varying experiences and competences. In late 2015 I was traveling to Bali to work in a ceramics studio, and coincidentally ran into Werner when we were about to take the same flight! In Bali we began discussing the potential of starting a brand, sharing a reverence for objects crafted by hand.

L: Can you tell us more about Atlas Crafts, the brand you founded together in 2016?

Atlas Crafts is based in Zürich, with an aim to collaborate with a global portfolio of master artisans. We design and produce contemporary objects for the home, merging traditional craftsmanship and high quality materials with designs rooted in Swiss aesthetics.

L: You recently launched EDITION N°1, porcelain objects crafted by hand. What brought you to work with Balinese craftsmen?

In 2013 I began a residency in Ubud, Bali in an Art Center founded by an Italian couple that leads a production facility specialized in ceramics entirely thrown by hand. They see the master artisan as one who is truly understanding a material via a process of learning, experience, discipline and patience. Craftsmanship in Bali is deeply rooted in traditions passing from one generation to the next and this is an important part of Balinese culture. I was able to spend 4 months studying ceramics in their studio alongside extremely skilled people I simply loved working with. This experience profoundly influenced our EDITION N°1. Minimal forms and modular constructions are combined with finishes influenced by Bali itself. Inspiration is drawn from traditional black and white patterns, the gold ornamentations richly used in Balinese culture, and the black volcanic sands of the island shores.

L: Do you first find the craftsmen with whom you want to work or do you choose the material and then find the right craftsmen?

Both. The starting point can come from any direction, the idea to work with a material or a specific process, from a strong personal synergy or admiration of skill. We hope to foster ongoing dialogues with international artisans that lead us to meet even more lovely craftspeople.

L: What was the biggest challenge while founding Atlas Crafts? And what is next?

Our biggest challenge was to find our own unique approach to an ancient craft and produce truly unique objects that juxtapose contemporary design with traditional workmanship. We were extremely lucky to have a strong team and incredible producer; our current challenge is to position our objects in galleries and begin conversations for future editions and collaborations.

Tiffany Bähler


©Nadine Ottawa