Breakfast is the first collection from Nina+Co, a small-scale design studio founded here in London by Nina Woodcroft. The collection comprises a plate, bowl, mug, butter dish and an espresso cup which doubles as an egg cup. The glaze used turns a sort of salty, seaside-in-September blue when fired, which seems to change colour depending on how the light catches it. The shiny glaze is complemented by a matte, jet black band on each piece.
The little ceramic house pictured here is the butter dish, which Nina kindly sent to me to photograph for this post. Also pictured: an entire packet of hot cross buns, of which I ate at least four whilst taking these photos. Easter comes but once a year…
Much of Nina’s inspiration comes from her multicultural heritage: her mother is Australian, her father part Indian and part Danish, whilst she was born and raised in Camden. This collision of different cultures has resulted in the stripped-back geometry and simple, honest shapes of her collection. Everything has been carefully designed with functionality in mind, which occasionally means eschewing the shapes traditionally associated with tableware in favour of something more natural and ergonomic (see the handle on her coffee mug for an example).
Nina isn’t a ceramicist by trade: her background is in interior design. Rather than taking the traditional route to university, when she finished school Nina took a job as PA to the Directors at Ara Design. Her obvious flair for interior design meant that she gradually added more creative and supporting work to her administrative duties, moving up the chain and developing her skills. By the time she left Nina was an Associate at the firm, running luxury hotel projects across the globe.
Eventually it was the disconnect between Nina’s strong sense of ethics and the amount of wastage generated by the luxury interior design industry that prompted her to make a change. In 2014 she made the decision to leave the corporate world behind and start her own design studio, Nina+Co, which would give her the freedom to work on a smaller scale, be kinder to the environment and branch out into social enterprise projects to give back to the local community.
All of the materials used to make the Breakfast collection are responsibly sourced, the clay being made from ingredients found in Devon, Cornwall, Shropshire and Derbyshire. The products are made in small batches, which allows Nina to maximise efficiency and reduce the amount of waste generated during the process.
Alongside her ceramics collection, Nina undertakes interior design, product design and branding work as Nina+Co. Two of her latest projects are the Dean St Café in Soho and the Luminary Bakery in Stoke Newington, the interiors of which will be designed by Nina. Both are social enterprise projects which provide vocational skills to vulnerable people. Dean St Café employs young people through a charity named Centrepoint, giving them training and employment opportunities to help them break out of the cycle of homelessness. The Luminary Bakery teaches baking as a tool to help London women gain employability, giving them practical and transferrable skills for the working world.
If you’d like to check out the rest of the collection (I’d recommend it!) then you can do so on the Nina+Co website.
Disclosure: this butter dish was provided free of charge for the purposes of creating this post. All photographs, words and opinions are my own.