Used in its original sense to describe a thousand-year-old craft, the concept of ceramics is now broader and can be assigned to a material or an entire branch of technology. Vitra uses ceramic as a material for its fine ceramic products: the natural raw material is mined in Portugal and processed according to our strict specifications by various suppliers, mostly in southern Europe, whose level of expertise with the raw material is particularly high.

The main methods used to process clay are casting and pressing. Both involve a significant number of artisanal steps, and the choice of method will depend on the specific product to be manufactured. Production scrap is remelted and reused.

After the wet raw material has been moulded into shape, the product is left to dry and then fired at temperatures of up to 1400°C. Finally it is coated with a clear or coloured glaze. Ceramic products are lightweight, hard and resistant to heat and water.

Durability and Maintenance

Like all Vitra products, ceramic objects will last for many years if taken care of. Ceramics can be cleaned by using just a damp cloth, gently rubbing over the surface. Please note that the Ceramic Clocks are hand painted and not glazed and therefore should only be wiped with a dry cloth.

Production of the Ceramic Clocks

This film shows the many different steps involved in the hand-crafted production of the Ceramic Clocks by George Nelson – from casting to glazing and firing in the kiln, to assembling the movements and the packing of each clock.

How L'Oiseau is made in ceramic

The decorative ceramic figure L'Oiseau is hand crafted in a process requiring several different steps. The film provides a brief insight into the complex fabrication of this accessory designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec.

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