Xavier Manosa with his design, Pussel, a multi-functional and modular mixed-media table object.
Founder of design studio, Apparatu, Xavier Manosa, was born into a family of ceramists. Despite spending much of his childhood in a ceramic workshop, it was Xavier’s peculiar attraction to sketches of objects that propelled him to pursue an education in industrial design. “I never really thought about what I was going to do when I grow up,” Xavier sheepishly admits.
However, when he was in Berlin, his flatmate, who was a ceramic artist, encouraged Xavier to submit his works to the Handled With Care contemporary ceramic-ware exhibition that was part of the London Design Festival in 2007. Xavier was then invited to showcase his quirky designs (including a clay vase coated with blackboard paint to allow users to decorate it or scribble down reminders), and the unexpectedly favourable responses he garnered for the works encouraged him to sow the seeds of Apparatu, his design studio.
Pleat Box ceramic pendant lights
He soon landed projects with renowned Spanish manufacturers such as Marset (Pleat Box and Scotch Club ceramic pendant lights) and Kettal (Pussel, a multi-functional and modular mixed-media table object), and found himself working hand in hand with his father in the family’s workshop in Barcelona. “Working with family is stressful yet relaxing, uncomfortable yet comfortable,” says the laid-back 33-year-old designer.
A strong believer in the artisanal value of his designs, Xavier shares that he has since rediscovered the art of pottery.
“Because there is such a strong tradition in ceramic arts, it’s easier to break those rules.” “Everything has been done. But what’s important now is how it’s being done,” says Xavier,
The slight variations among the individual Pleat Box lamps can attest to that, as each shade is completely handmade. “It’s always about the process,” he emphasises. “I’m still trying to understand what it means to be a ceramist.”