Mean Mug

By Luke Hopping / Published by Dwell
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Ceramicist Ian Anderson is expanding overseas and leveraging the web to make design more democratic—but first, coffee.

Big news may call for a toast, but usually it demands caffeine first. Perhaps that’s why ceramicist Ian Anderson chose to do a line of mugs to celebrate his expansion into the European market and the launch of his online platform to solicit user-generated design inspiration.  

Ian Anderson of AANDERSSON studio recently unveiled Shapes, a collection of five porcelain mugs finished in matte and glossy glazes in a range of shades from black to white. 

Ian Anderson of AANDERSSON studio recently unveiled Shapes, a collection of five porcelain mugs finished in matte and glossy glazes in a range of shades from black to white. 

Photo: AANDERSSON

"There are a lot of logistics in scaling up. It’s the ugly but necessary side of being a design brand," says Anderson, who has personally overseen the creative and financial halves of his Philadelphia studio since 2013. Now he’s partnering with Moxon London to distribute Shapes, a new line of five mugs, each with a striking geometric handle, to European boutiques.  

Rather than the conventional half circle, each mug is held by a sharp, squiggly, or abstract handle. 

Rather than the conventional half circle, each mug is held by a sharp, squiggly, or abstract handle. 

Photo: AANDERSSON

The mugs also commemorate the start of AANDERSSON Projects, a website where users can respond anonymously to abstract prompts like "Please draw Michelle’s face" to crowdsource patterns and graphics that Anderson will bake into his own work. "I was frustrated with the design world’s obsession with celebrity," he explains, adding that, down the road, these digital submissions may be displayed in a gallery or public art installation. 

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Photo: AANDERSSON

"My designs are intended to have a universal appeal. The Shapes collection is a perfect example of this—they’re just forms, but they make the everyday experience of drinking a little more interesting." Ian Anderson, designer

Beginning in 2017, the designer will announce two new collections annually, incorporating ideas sparked by his new content crowdsourcing site. 

Beginning in 2017, the designer will announce two new collections annually, incorporating ideas sparked by his new content crowdsourcing site. 

Photo: AANDERSSON

Luke Hopping

@LukeHopping

Senior editor/storymancer Cities, design, music, tech, news Trying to keep up

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