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Vezzini & Chen on being led by their materials and organic forms

As international art consultants, Artelier specialises in curating art for luxury residential, hospitality, yacht and aviation projects. Artelier's feature wall collection – Artist Walls – presents a collection of artists whose originality of ideas and dedication to their materials makes them true contemporary masters. Through collaborating with Artelier, they have created large-scale custom art commissions that reinvent the concept of the mural for the modern age, pushing the possibilities for feature wall art.

Cristina Vezzini and Stan Chen are an artist duo who combine their own crafts – ceramics and glass – into composite works. As a couple in both their professional and personal lives, their artworks can be seen as a marriage of materials, styles and influences, that together represent a harmonious creative union.

Vezzini & Chen's striking installations are ideally suited for large-scale projects; they have recently completed commissions for hotels in Qatar and Japan, and are currently creating new concepts for hotel lobbies together with Artelier. They are also collaborating with Artelier on an upcoming yacht project, for which they will be creating a monumental staircase feature wall with integrated lighting.

As you both have experience working in the other material, do you feel that is helpful for creating your work?

CV: It’s really helpful. Even now, sometimes people ask who created each part, but that’s very difficult to answer. Yes, Stan is the glassblower and the glass artist, and I'm the ceramicist, but actually our work is made by both of us in every material. Stan will do some ceramics, and I will do some engraving on the glass, so it's not really the case that we have distinct roles – we cross over.

SC: It helped our style develop, too. We feel our style really started merging together from 2018, with ‘Gem’ light. That's when we feel our style started truly growing, finding the balance in between us.

Could you expand on what you feel about that balance, and how that style of work represents a balance between you and between your materials?

CV: It's a balance between the simplicity in the glass work – Stan's glass work and his aesthetic – with the decorative in my work. A balance, too, between the clear glass and the white ceramics. Perhaps also it's a balance that is within us.

We go through a selective process when we make the work, so we make a lot and then select the pieces where we feel the balance just finds harmony.

What is the process of creating a work, working across two materials?

SC: The process of how we develop a project is that we have an initial idea on paper, and then I go to the glassblowing facility and create some shapes of what we drew. When I bring the work back, we start to study the piece and finalise it, and then we go back to the hot shop together to make the piece again. That's how the process really starts, with a lot of adjustment in between.

CV: Normally, we go and blow the glass to make the initial shape, and when we bring it back to the studio we play with the ceramics. By that point, I would have made a ceramic shape that we feel will work with that glass shape, and then we will try it, and maybe adjust it. That means going back to the hot shop to re-change the glass, while I'm working with the ceramics in the studio. We will keep adjusting until we find what we call the perfect balance for us.

SC: In our new work process, actually, we have to have a ceramic piece ready before I make the glass piece, because ceramic shrinks when it's fired. So, if I have to match the size of the ceramic, I will have to wait for Cristina's ceramics to be ready before I can go and make the glass shape for it.

CV: It is a true dialogue between the materials, and ourselves – a constant dialogue.

Given you both feel 2018 marked a stylistic change and greater harmony, did your inspiration change at that time?

SC: I think the shape we developed is actually led by the materials themselves, because we let the material itself talk. Especially when we are making a glass piece, you have to work with the gravitation. How gravity pulls the work, how you form the shape. It dominates the maturity of the shape of the glass. With the ceramics, you have this kind of liquid quality in the casting process as well.