London-based Italian artist Francesca Anfossi is a multidisciplinary artist whose work encompasses ceramics, workshops, cooking classes and communal events. She also provides opportunities for participants to learn new skills and form new social bonds.
So when she decided to design the kitchen in her new Camden home, there was never any doubt that there would be originality, imagination and innovation involved.
Given Francesca’s heritage, terrazzo was the obvious choice. “It’s a material I’ve always been around in Italy, used everywhere from floors to walls. I like the idea of terrazzo as a ‘simpler’ version of marble, something humble and less precious with links to my inheritance.”
Francesca was most interested in the creation of a bespoke terrazzo to combine her own work with ceramics. Diespeker was the logical choice as an experienced maker of bespoke terrazzo based in London, as Francesca wanted to be physically involved in the process.
“When I visited, owner John Krause was especially friendly and approachable. He was very positive and interested in working with an artist with a new idea and new material!”
Francesca was keen to use ceramic pieces made in collaboration with her children set within an off-white terrazzo base. “We wanted to include lots of different objects related to cooking; we made over 100 pieces in terracotta clay from spoons and knives to figurines and abstract shapes.
Francesca created a digital sample using a classic base and the Diespeker team worked to match it. She then sent a number of ceramic pieces to be used in samples. “I fired the ceramics at a high temperature, and they needed to be tested for strength.”
As well as ceramic, the design uses primary colour glass pieces; yellow, blue and red. The concept came from her house which has stained glass windows – on sunny days beams of light shining through the glass makes shapes on surfaces, which she wanted to replicate.
Francesca wanted to be physically involved in the process, visiting Diespeker’s Bermondsey factory to place the ceramic and glass pieces individually within the moulds. “It was a wonderful experience to get involved in this hands-on way.” When the terrazzo was ready it was installed by Diespeker’s team at Francesca’s Camden home.
This beautiful, truly unique terrazzo was made using a resin base. The project required two worktops with a cut out for the hob, and two splashbacks. The worktops although a standard thickness and edge, were unusually wide at 900mm. Francesca also set the bespoke team a challenge when she commissioned a sink in the same terrazzo to be cast as a single piece. The result was a triumph and the sink is a truly stunning element within the new kitchen.
The artist is pleased as punch with the result. “I love it, I’ve used marble before and this time I wanted something that was both functional and more playful and richer in content.”
Francesca enjoyed the process so much that she would be delighted to accept commissions for ceramic shapes from anyone keen to create their own custom made terrazzo designs.
Francesca’s work celebrates functionality and exchange, based on some of our most basic activities: cooking, playing and sharing. Anfossi is the co-founder of Rochester Square, a dynamic space in London dedicated to socially-engaging projects and artistic collaborations. She is the winner of the Whitegold International Ceramic Prize, St Austell, UK 2020-2021. Previous projects: Creative Learning Programme, Residency, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2020. Square meal, Frieze art fair VIP Programme, London, 2019.