Stacks of handcrafted porcelain tableware in aquatic colourways are assembled in long lines on timber trestle tables in Studio Enti’s new home. The new workshop and retail space was set up a couple of months ago, as one of five new creative retail spaces on Foley Street that launched with the City of Sydney's Creative Spaces Program. Having previously operated out of a smaller studio in Marrickville, moving to the multi-purpose space on Foley Street was a milestone for the studio’s owner, Naomi Taplin.
Taplin formed Studio Enti in 2013 after completing a Bachelor of Design at the College of Fine Arts, UNSW. The intersection of function and beauty is at the forefront of her design agenda.
The studio is divided into two open-plan sections. The retail space at the street’s entrance displays Studio Enti’s range of tableware, lighting and objects, placed on shelves and displayed on various pieces of striking furniture handmade by Jonathan West. Behind the retail space is a front-of-house desk; the team made each delicate porcelain tile (“a true labour of love”, Taplin admits). The desk separates the showroom and retail space from the studio where pieces are being glazed and moulded. There are no screens or dividers, so all the handiwork is on display.
“We wanted to be fully equipped when opening as a retail space, it’s a completely new direction for us and a great opportunity,” Taplin says. “We found out we would be moving here months ago so we’ve been working on building up a lot of stock to facilitate the move and make the most of this space.” The room’s capacity means that Studio Enti can now host workshops here; the first series will explore the traditional art of Japanese kintsugi and bring a modern spin on the ancient repair technique.
Each piece is individual in its colouring and markings. A large amount of Studio Enti’s ceramics is specially commissioned tableware for food service. It’s created serving ware for restaurants Pinbone in Woollahra, and Aubergine and Monster Bar & Kitchen in Canberra, to name a few. The majority are made in colourways of cool greys, muted blues and sea greens. “These tones have become the roots of our aesthetic, it works for food service and tends to complement food in plating up,” says Taplin.
Aside from tableware, Taplin is interested in experimenting with alternative furnishings for the home. Her very first product was a vessel, mould-casted from an oyster shell from Tathra Oysters on NSW’s Far South Coast. Taplin has an eye for unsuspecting objects that may present beautifully in porcelain; her line of elegant pendant lighting is an example, made with brass components and a linen-covered cable. The matte glaze of the pendant gives it an artful aesthetic and the object’s porcelain shade casts a warm and directional light. It’s not the most obvious choice for lighting, but it works. Such is Studio Enti’s appeal.