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New Volumes Collection 02 is a project steeped in history, place and tradition. The collection features the work of seven Australian designers – Adam Goodrum, Lucy Simpson, Thomas Coward, Megan Mortan, Chris Connell, Hattie Malloy and Kate Stokes. All of the pieces are made by an eighth generation terracotta factory in Ferrone, Italy. This interview is with New Volumes Creative Director Thomas Coward. 

New Volumes Collection 02

Hello Thomas! Firstly, can you please explain what ‘New Volumes’ is and how it came to be?

New Volumes was born from a desire to create an Australian brand that combined the creative talent in this country with the unique materials that Artedomus has to offer. 'Volumes' refers to a part of a story and also physical matter. Each story is based around collections exploring a singular material.

 

NV_EarthWirri_LucySimpson

How did you come to choose terracotta as the material for collection 02?

After the fist collection made from Elba Marble, we wanted to try a material that had a completely different manufacturing technique. Marble was confined to carving shapes from a solid block. Terracotta would be the opposite as it is a wet material pushed into moulds to create form. So the physical material would define the objects, and the techniques would determine what could be made.

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There’s an interesting mix of disciplines amongst the designers of collection 02, was this important to you?

Absolutely. I was curious to see what a diverse range of creatives would achieve as a group. I didn’t want to just use product designers. Plus these different creatives inhabit such different worlds, I thought it would expand our scope and vision to utilise them. I’m a firm believer in collaboration as a tool for creative expression. Most often the output is something completely unexpected.

NV_Pinch_KateStokes

NV_Pinch_KateStokes

As the Creative Director, how did you drive the collaborative process between the designers and manufacturers?

Very simply. I explained the concept of the brand, and the material. Then asked if they had something in mind. I would make a few suggestions and we would come up with a direction. I didn’t want 10 stools, so I made sure we had a diverse mix of product types that would work well as a collection. We then went back and forth with the factory and honed a product that could be made. In some instances they were very simple but in others we really pushed the capabilities of the manufacturing. 

NV_Sol_HattieMolloy

NV_Skafos_ChrisConnelCan you talk us through the types of furniture and objects that are included in New Volumes collection 02?

We have a mix of furniture from tables, chairs and stools, to lighting and homewares… vases, kitchenware and umbrella stands.

NV_Pitcher_AdamGoodrumNV_Harvest_MeganMortonCan you tell us a bit about the manufacturing process and the significance of the terracotta factory in Italy that makes the pieces?

Our partner, Cotto Manetti has been supplying Artedomus with terracotta for many years. And in fact its been making this material since 1780. Located in Ferrone, Italy, they produce exceptional quality terracotta in strict compliance with the ancient traditions of Impruneta. 

The clay of Impruneta is incredibly unique and Cotto Manetti are the only existing manufacturer of authentic terracotta. Their terracotta is the most dense in the world which makes the production more complex because it takes much longer for the tiles to dry up and to fire them. Once the terracotta is fired, it has unique characteristics in terms of robustness, water absorption, resistance to frost, to chemicals, mechanical resistance and a very low porosity. All these characteristics make their terracotta incredibly durable with the capacity for it to get better and more dense over time. The process is simple: wet clay in chalk moulds, Air dried, then kiln fired.

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What has been the most memorable part of working on this collection? What are you most proud of?

Undoubtably the most memorable part of the project was seeing the full collection of pieces together for the first time. We had planned to shoot them together in location in Florence however Covid put that to bed. Instead we created a wonderful shoot here in Melbourne. Working with all the designers was a highlight too. It’s always a fascinating process to see how others work and approach a project, and I feel enriched and grateful to have brought this collection to life.

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All pieces are available to purchase through New Volumes
Learn more about New Volumes Collection 02
Watch the New Volumes Video on The Local Project

Photography: Sean Fennessy
Creative Direction: Thomas Coward 
Styling: Nat Turnbull
Factory Photos: Sandro Michahelles

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