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text Mavis Ang
photo Foundry and MarSet

who Xavier Manosa
why This emerging Spanish designer and ceramist utilises
traditional craft-making to create contemporary forms
“Finding out
what an artisanal product means.”

what gets him out of bed in the morning


Despite being born into a family of ceramists,
it was Xavier’s peculiar attraction to sketches
of objects, rather than spending much of
his childhood in a ceramic workshop, 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. But it all fell into
place when his flatmate in Berlin, 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 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.
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 pictured
below), 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.
Returning to his roots meant rediscovering the
art of pottery, and Xavier shares that he
prefers working with a traditional art form:
“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, who strongly believes in the artisanal
value of his designs. 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.”
Log on to to view more of Xavier
Manosa’s works. The Pleat Box and Scotch Club
are available at Foundry, 3 Seah Street,
tel: 6339-6381.

A collaboration
between Xavier and
Mashallah design
studio, the Marset
Pleat Box’s ceramic
undulating form was
designed to mimic the
way a piece of cloth can
be folded or creased.