March 14, 2012  |  Artists, Behind the Scenes
Architect Collaborations at the MoMA Design Store: James Mohn

Today, we continue an exploration of architects who have been asked to adapt their structural design concepts for small, home products available at the MoMA Design Store.

Two Moons Vase. James Mohn. 2011

The invitation to create an object for the MoMA Design Store introduced architect and interior designer James Mohn to the challenges and rewards of designing a commercial home product from scratch.

Mohn intended the silhouette of the Two Moons Vase to evoke the soothing curves frequently found in nature. His initial intention for the vase was a Plexiglas® construction which, after several consultations with a manufacturer, proved to be cost prohibitive. Back at the drawing board, Mohn discovered that the original concept of his design could be communicated just as well, if not better, through ceramic, an approachable material that resonated with the vase’s earthy, elemental aesthetic.

Mohn’s design was presented to a ceramics manufacturer in Japan, a country with an esteemed ceramic heritage dating back to the Neolithic period. He was asked to come back with a three-dimensional mold of the vase, a not insignificant task for someone with limited ceramics experience. A period of dedicated experimentation proved to be a highly effective crash course for Mohn, who soon mastered the material’s idiosyncrasies. His newfound understanding led him to adjust the proportions of the vase and evolve its design to showcase the clean, minimal beauty of expertly-crafted ceramics.

The result is an elegantly shaped vase with two, hand-formed side-openings evoking the moon. Viewed at different angles, the openings suggest lunar phases or the experience of an eclipse. Try using the side-openings to emphasize the often ignored beauty of stems and leaves or create other, unusual arrangements. The possibilities are endless—how would you take advantage of the vase’s unorthodox design?