Atelier Vierkant transforms clay into beautiful design without compromise. These handcrafted pots and planters are admired across the world and can be found in the most exclusive locations.
Belgium may be one of the smallest European countries, but despite its modest size, the innovation of its many artistic talents cannot be confined. Belgium has proven itself a design force to be reckoned with at the international level. ‘Made in Belgium’ has evolved into a quality label like no other. Atelier Vierkant does it with clay: 70 tonnes of clay per week from Western Europe that is transformed into unique handcrafted pots in their Belgian studio.
How does one give clay, a centuries-old material, its own contemporary design personality? There are no standard objects here, only authentic designs of artisanal quality, design pieces with heart and soul: made by hand, slowly and meticulously. Sleek, but never cold. Two pieces are never exactly alike. Each design that leaves Atelier is wonderfully unique and bears the stamp of its creator.
Willy and Annette Janssens, the founders and designers of Atelier Vierkant, are endlessly at work in their studio, their hands immersed in clay, wrestling and exploring with this material. It is here that all their creations are born, destined to meet the world by adorning its most beautiful places; from luxurious villas to grand city hotels to exotic gardens.
Atelier Vierkant is continuously stretching its technical boundaries in order to reach results that hardly seem possible. “The clay consumes us, yet it is we who control it”. It is in that field of tension that exquisite, functional objects come to life: layered, organic and distilled. A robust and proud presence, but never over the top. Architectural, functional elements and artistic sculptures at the same time.
Just as unconventional as their monumental pots, so too is Atelier Vierkant’s way of working: no agent, no importer, no adverts. Because what you do yourself, you always do better. Willy and Annette are responsible for the designing of the objects and their three sons do the rest. It’s an intensive way to work, but it is the only option. This is the foundation of who they are - No impersonal offices sealed from the work floor, but rather an impressive and lively studio that is the true beating heart of this passionate family business.
Pictured above: UF Planters.
Atelier Vierkant has a worldwide network of 3,000 architects and designers with whom it closely collaborates creating ad hoc, unique projects. Each collaboration is unique and always leads to unexpected, surprising results: exclusive restaurants in France, luxury Hotels in Barcelona, amazing private houses in New Zealand and much more. They have built strong relationships based on trust with each of these partners. Any calls or queries are answered personally: no expensive, delaying and unnecessary in-between steps, instead just a direct, intensive and close collaboration.
The Atelier workshop is a creative think tank and production hall, always on its way to producing something new and never seen before. Together with their partners they brainstorm, research and carry out the entire project from scratch. It’s a matter of matching their pots perfectly with the project they are designed for, both in shape and texture.
Atelier Vierkant operate out of three fully functioning workshops. The latest plant is now ready to increase the number of pots produced daily and to offer clients even more choice from stock. Such expansion has been implemented to service the impressive, increasing growth rate that Atelier Vierkant has been experiencing during the last decade.
The clay is transformed from raw material into a finished product with dedication and by hand: it is pressed, shaped and moulded into pots and then fired. Once the clay has adapted to the shape of the mould, the drying process begins. Pots are placed under air-blowing pipes, so that the clay can partially release the water trapped in its particles. This process lasts several days in order to let clay dry and become harder. The pots are now ready to be finished and decorated with engravings and textures by the hands of the artisans working in the atelier, before undergoing the second drying process in apposite drying rooms. After several days in the drying rooms, the pots are fired at 1200°c in special ovens and the clay turns into a permanent shape and cannot be altered anymore. Thanks to the high firing temperatures clay will withstand harsh weather conditions such as frost and heat, becoming suitable both for indoor and outdoor use. The pots are now ready to be packed and shipped worldwide with different means of transport, according to the destination: truck, sea freight or air freight.
Every process is completed inside the facilities of Atelier Vierkant, without depending on any relocation and outsourcing. This means that the production cycle is kept as short as possible, as it takes place in one single location, being sustainable and allowing the full traceability of the product. Moreover, this allows people who work in the Atelier to have a deep understanding of the production and supply chain process, being more aware of the value-adding aspects characterizing the sculptures.
Besides the three workshop plants, the Atelier Vierkant showroom offers both private and professional clients the opportunity to see, touch and feel the vast array of models. The different shapes, colours and structures displayed will inspire clients and offer new, different perspectives on projects, sometimes putting in question the existing project plans and opening creative minds to new ideas.
Pictured above: DM & DMB Planters.
SUSTAINABILITY & DURABILITY
Strong & robust, Atelier Vierkant products are made to last a lifetime.
Thanks to such consciousness of long-term perspective, these pots, pebbles and benches become companions, friends that acquire personal meaning with time and that are inserted in the narrative of a place, having something to tell about your garden, your house and keeping the memories of these sites.
Each pot of Atelier Vierkant tells a different story. Their natural connotation implies the communion and the conjunction of the four natural element our world is made of- earth, fire, air and water. Earth and water recalls the physical status in which we find clay; air relates to the drying process in which air-blowing pipes partially eliminate the water trapped in clay particle; fire refers to the firing process of clay, in which pots and seats are rolled in to gigantic ovens and fired at extremely high temperatures. However, these elements would never become something concrete without the addition of a fifth element, which allows them to become a finished product of outstanding quality: human passion. Passion for what they do and for what they can produce with creativity and inspiration.
Atelier have developed and perfected traditional skills and special production techniques. This allows them to create the forms they have imagined and demonstrate that at Atelier Vierkant the art of craftsmanship is not dead. Instead, arts and crafts are at their best.
Durability does not only refer to memory and to the narrative of a place. Instead, it also refers to physical durability. Natural clay, fired at 1200 c°, can withstand different harsh climate conditions such as frost and heat, and resists to UV rays. Most importantly, this means that the shape will not be subjected to alterations and that colours will not fade away. This is why Atelier pots are chosen to enrich beautiful gardens and outdoor areas all around the world, in different atmospheric conditions, and also why it is extremely common to see their planters covered with soft snow or pebbles sculptures silted in warm sand: from Hawaii to Saudi Arabia, from Japan to Spain.
Pictured above: HK Planters.