R FOR REPAIR

OBJECT
2020

All things are created and destined to be broken someday. In this sense, being broken or damaged is not a bad thing. All of us develop scars throughout our lives and they should not be hidden. Instead of re-attaching the handle, the breakage is preserved with minimal alterations. Encountering the imperfection reminds us of the impermanence of everything and helps us look forward to something new. In our use-and-dispose culture today, it is important to retain and rediscover the beauty of a broken object through another use or treatment. A handle-less cup encourages the drinker to approach it with the sense of touch. It is not an exaggeration to suggest that such an interaction means the hand drinks as well.

Our main objective was to strike a fine balance between safe-handling and preserving the scars of breakage. Sharp, rough and uneven textures where the handle once joined the cup were carefully removed, just enough for the hands to come in direct contact without getting cut. The resulting exposed porcelain was protected with a thin coating of food safe resin. While one would conventionally apply a transparent glaze, the need to re-fire the cup under the intense heat of a kiln would have burnt off its gold rim which is precious to the owner. As for the severed handle, we kept it in a box alongside a booklet about “drinking without handle”. The paulownia wood box resists the ravages of humid air, making it ideal for storing treasured items.

This project is produced as a participant of the Exhibition ‘R for Repair’ at National Design Center, Singapore. Commissioned and curated by Hans Tan Studio and Design Singapore Council.

Photo credit: KHOOGJ