Clay Stories | Atelier Vierkant

Honouring a sense of the timeless, natural and artisanal is at the very core of the Atelier Vierkant brand. Pioneering clay pots and decorative accessories since the early ’80s, this Belgian, family-run design house has firmly become an outdoor Australian favourite – and for good reason.

Family-owned and operated Atelier Vierkant have been conquering the global design world for decades, delivering a distinctly European sensibility with their clay creations. Collaborating with a network of international landscape architects and designers, Atelier Vierkant’s acclaimed objects are defined by their large-scale volume, clean-lined silhouettes, organic tactility and unique, artisanal qualities.

In partnership with Cosh Living we take a closer look at the globally-inspired story, passionate craftsmanship and Belgian aesthetic behind the Atelier Vierkant brand, while exploring their ongoing contribution to the world of outdoor design.

Founding designers Willy and Annette Janssens work closely alongside their sons – the Atelier Vierkant artisans – to craft their contemporary collections as they have for the past 30 years. Starting with a humble planter pot, their range now showcases sculptural vessels, benches, walls, pebbles, bowls and vases; all of which are shaped by hand using the ancient material of clay.

Moving away from the traditional Tuscan-style terracotta pots that have been used for centuries, Willy Janssens wanted something modern for his own property, which wouldn’t compete with the surrounding landscape or architecture. Janssens began experimenting with clay from Germany that could be fired at high temperatures, making strong, frost-proof vessels and mixing in oxides to create, what would eventually be, his signature collection of earthy colours.

“Clay is our foundation and it is with that material that we begin our journey. We think with our hands and the rest follows.”

– Atelier Vierkant

A centuries-old material deeply rooted in our global design history, clay connects people across art, pottery and ceramics. Through Atelier Vierkant’s modern-day interpretations, it remains just as relevant to the contemporary design sphere today. The Janssens are endlessly at work in their studio, their hands immersed in clay. It’s here that all of their unique creations are born, destined to adorn some of the world’s most revered places; from grand hotels in Barcelona, exotic gardens in France and an exhibition during Milan Design Week.

While no two Atelier Vierkant pieces are identical, each handcrafted object comes with the same, quality-assured ‘Made in Belgium’ stamp. Designing, developing and manufacturing in Belgium ensures a short production cycle, which is not only more sustainable but allows full traceability of each product. This process also enables the workshop’s artisans to have a complete understanding of the production and supply evolution, highlighting value-adding aspects which safeguard Atelier Vierkant’s renowned quality and consistency.

In a movement away from manmade materials, many of us look for a deeper connection with and an authentic story to accompany the objects we invest in. Inspired by the calming effects of nature and individually crafted by hand, Atelier Vierkant’s designs embrace organic shapes, textures and colours reflective of the natural world around us. Each sculptural piece provides a masterclass in fusing material, craft, form and function to perfectly suit our outdoor environments.

Much like their Atelier Vierkant partners, Cosh Living align themselves with offering unique outdoor designs that embody innovation and craftsmanship. An obvious union, Atelier Vierkant and Cosh Living share other collective intentions too, including a dedication to ensuring each product is durable and that the materials used are hard-wearing. Providing us with objects that are both individual in form and versatile in function, the alliance between Atelier Vierkant and Cosh Living makes for an accomplished design partnership.

Megan Rawson

As Acting Managing Editor at est living, Megan has built her career in the interiors media industry. Prior to joining the Est team, Megan spent the last few years working both internationally and locally with interior design studios, most notably Tom Dixon and Mim Design. Follow her visual journey here:

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