A relative newcomer to the lighting scene, Andreea Braescu is captivating industry insiders with her innovative use of porcelain. We find out more about the Romanian designer and her magical creations.
CAN YOU PLEASE TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT YOUR FORMATION AND HOW YOU CAME TO BE A LIGHTING DESIGNER?
I grew up surrounded by art – living and breathing it really. My grandparents are both painters, my mother is a sculptor and my father is a designer, so I suppose it is in my DNA!
I studied art at the National University of Arts in Bucharest, graduating six years ago. Since then, I have been developing my own emotion-led approach, with the aim of recreating the spirit and energy of nature within interior spaces. The idea of making lighting objects out of porcelain came naturally, because the porcelain I use is the finest of its kind, with a translucency that is unequalled.
FINE BONE CHINA AND PORCELAIN ARE NOTORIOUSLY FRAGILE AND DIFFICULT ELEMENTS TO WORK WITH – WHY HAVE YOU CHOSEN THESE MATERIALS PARTICULARLY?
Indeed, bone china is a material that is notoriously difficult to tame. But is also the perfect artistic medium; it offers a pure channel of creativity, allowing the most richly detailed, expressive work possible.
HOW LONG DO YOU TAKE TO MAKE YOUR BESPOKE ITEMS?
A small chandelier, which is made up of about 150 leaves, takes roughly two weeks to complete.
Some of the large, bespoke pieces are over 5m long and hold over 1,000 elements, and this sort of pieces can take up to three months. Every leaf is precisely positioned to best capture, illuminate and reflect the space it’s designed for, so there really are no shortcuts.
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT YOUR TEAM OF ARTISANS?
I have a wonderfully talented team of 20 technically brilliant artists, designers and engineers who work with me in my studio in Bucharest.
The team is divided into three sections: porcelain, metal structures and design. I am proud to say that I have in my team an aerospace engineer, Ion Dragan, who is responsible for the metal structures.
For the porcelain technology, I have teamed up with a former classmate from college, John Cojocaru, and together we overcome any challenges.
I must also mention Octavian Balea, a brilliant industrial designer who always finds solutions for making my vision possible. The rest of the team are young artists specialising in ceramics.
We use technology and modern techniques but, ultimately, everything has to be handmade. That’s essential to staying true to my vision. I try to replicate nature’s skill of creating harmony through apparent randomness, and machinemade pieces would always have an element of uniformity which is antithetical to that.
HOW INVOLVED ARE YOU IN EACH PIECE?
When you are aiming to create an object that not only serves a function but evokes an emotional response from the viewer, you have to be completely involved in all of its aspects.
I am involved in every piece from start to finish, and I put all my mind and soul into my work - I think that is the key to triggering human emotions.
Every petal in Andreea Braescu’s chandelier design is painstakingly handcrafted.
Andreea expresses her creativity in porcelain and bone china, materials that are notorious for their fragility.
TEXT POLLY SWEET