Studio Sain is a design office founded in 2018 by Namuun Zimmermann, who is German of Mongolian origin, and Martijn Rigters, who is Dutch. Both graduates of the Royal College of Art, their practice explores the broader subject of design from a human-centred approach, working in the fields of object design, research and education. Located between Shanghai and Vienna, the duo aims to redefine contemporary design practice through material research and sustainable manufacturing.
Koi Vases is a collection of eight vessels, with patterns inspired by a colourful carp fish species known as Koi. Based on the Chinese preference for symmetry, the vases can be divided into four pairs and are an example of a cultural hybrid. Taking one of the Chinese porcelains of Schloss Hollenegg as a starting point, the vases undergo a transformation of shape and decor, from defined historical patterns to contemporary abstraction. This collection of vases is based on the idea that hybridity is not a quality that can be captured in an object, but a continuous process created through pairing up diverse cultural values, resulting in new forms of heritage. Traditional Chinese ceramics are often delicately and richly decorated, depicting elements of good fortune, health, wisdom and happiness, yet also reflecting a particular moment in history. Similarly, fish, and in particular Koi carp, have long played a role in East-Asian culture, symbolising abundance and wealth, and as such have been decorating ceramic vessels for centuries. Throughout history, the value of a ceramic piece was based mainly on the craftsman’s reputation and the time spent on hand-painting the objects. The Milk and blood vase (used as inspiration) has a white and iron-red colour scheme. It is crafted and decorated in a style of Chinese ceramics that European collectors very much desired throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. A large part of the ceramics production in Jingdezhen (China) was produced for export, destined to be displaced and a cultural hybrid.