At home in isolation, designer Irina Flore started to reexamine the objects around her and designed a new collection of glassware in response.
By Rachel Gallaher
The Joyful glassware drink set, designed by Irina Flore, of Studio Flore, during quarantine.
Over the past year, like millions of others around the globe, Portland designer Irina Flore tapped into her deep wells of creativity to help keep feelings of isolation and monotony at bay.
Through her multidisciplinary practice, Studio Flore, the designer, inspired by her travels and interactions with the world around her, had produced everything from sculpture and lighting to Christmas cookie cutters. Suddenly cut off from the creative community and spending weeks on end at home, Flore started to focus more closely on the everyday objects she interacted with most. Looking to add something cheerful to her daily routine she started sketching a series of freeform shapes that would eventually evolve into a set of colorful glassware objects that include a catch-all dish and a drinkware set.
“This collection reflects the need I had to surround myself and my work with more colorful materials and shapes, while trying to bring more joy into my everyday design process,” Flore says. “While being isolated at home, drinking every day from the same cup or eating from the same plate became monotonous and I felt the need to explore the shapes of these everyday objects we are surrounded by.”
LEFT: Flore's initial sketches for the Joyful glassware collection. RIGHT: Paper cutouts, the second step in the design process.
Given that Flore didn’t have her usual access to a workshop, some good old-fashion pencil-to-paper sketching started to bring the objects to life. From there, she moved to a more tactile format. “I had many paper cuts and paper models which I placed around the house to see what they would look like,” she says. “I loved the idea and also how they looked like at that stage, so I wanted to translate those shapes into glass works.”
The resulting Joyful glassware collection consists of a cylindrical pitcher and glass in a bright sky-blue, and two corresponding glasses in shades of green and purple. All sans handles, the whimsical pieces are functional sculptures handcrafted by artisans in Istanbul, Turkey. “I imagined this glassware collection as being functional but also as an Art-Object collection,” Flore explains. “I like the idea of having the tableware and glassware used also as display or decoration objects, when not in use for dining.” In addition to the Joyful collection, Flore also created the Coralia catch-all dish—its geometric shape is an interpretation of the shapes found in coral and other colorful sea life.
The Coralia dish is inspired by undersea life.
Both creations were featured in the Never Normal exhibition, curated by Form&Seek and Wasserman Projects as part of Detroit Month of Design 2020. “I very much liked the exhibition’s proposed topic,” Flore recalls. “We were invited to reexamine and reevaluate our personal relationships to our domestic landscape, so it was great since I was already working with questions like this every day.”