Last week I visited the Danish design collective Meyer-Lavigne in their studio in Copenhagen’s meat packing district. There is such a wonderful atmosphere in their studio, and I love to pass by from time to time to sneak around and see what the talented ladies have come up with. Meyer-Lavigne consists of Kristine Meyer and Sabine Lavigne, both graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts specialising in ceramics and glass. They have been selected for Danish Crafts Collection several times. The style of Meyer-Lavigne is delicate, poetic, whimsical, quirky and with a freeing sense of humour and playfulness. This time they showed me their brand new and really cute Good Morning cups, and we had a talk about how they mix Nordic tradition and design with a sense of Japanese Kawaii.
The two creative women are bent over their work. One is drawing; the other is editing some photos for their website. Plants are all over – in the large windows, and spread out in the many ceramic planters and vases from their own hands. One wall has Joseph Frank’s beautiful Vårklocker wallpaper, and a sunny yellow Calder mobile is vibrating from the ceiling. Large mood boards are filled with sketches, scraps of papers and magazines, their kids’ drawings and other tiny things that in one way or another inspire and create meaning for them. From everywhere friendly, whimsical, cute, odd and very Kawaii-like faces and characters are gazing at me. They are members of the ever-growing Meyer-Lavigne family of silky white porcelain decorated with hand-drawn ceramic transfers and hand-painted elements – savings boxes, flower pots, vases, egg cups and the new Good Morning cups. They all have simple and functional forms following the Nordic tradition for beauty and utility, but adding something else and more with the extra layer of decoration that gives each object its own playful character and a feeling that is best described as Kawaii.
Meyer-Lavigne tells about Kawaii and how they use it in their work:
"Kawaii is a Japanese concept that might best be described as ‘Cute Factor’. The term describes a contemporary tendency to emphasize soft forms over angular ones and sweet and innocent features over glamour and cool. Unlike beauty, which evokes admiration and adoration, Kawaii evokes feelings of love and caring".