Installed in Limousin, France, ceramicist duo Yaël Malignac and Guillaume Descoing explore all the possibilities of porcelain. Their Passage Secret workshop contains the harmonious and contemporary work that the artists create by highlighting the whiteness, softness and translucency of this exceptional material.
A duo of creators
Yaël was trained in modeling and engraving at the prestigious École Boulle. She joined the crystal factory Lalique, and then she moved to Porcelains JL Coquet, where she took on full responsibility for the modeling workshop in 2010. It is there that she met Guillaume and they began to develop projects dedicated to interior architecture together.
Prior to this experiment, Guillaume received thorough training in ceramic techniques at the French Institute of Ceramics in Sèvres; he was also a trainer there for over six years.
“It is by working together and living together that, little by little, we realized the great complementarity of our skills. During this period of growth, another life was imposed on us, outside the framework of our company, which at some point had become too narrow.”
Emphasizing the beauty of the material
On the border between art and decoration, the creative duo offers decorative and utilitarian pieces such as sculptures, vases, decorative panels and porcelain fixtures. Fascinated by light, they exploit the translucency of porcelain through engraved pieces and lithophanies (a technique of revealing a design or pattern through the exposure of porcelain to a light source).
All parts are made onsite at the workshop. Yaël and Guillaume design their models and manufacture the plaster molds themselves. The porcelain pieces are made by casting, and then baked in the oven. For decorated pieces, the duo works the glazing in successive layers that color the piece. For any wrought iron elements, the designers appeal to a local ironworker and complete the patinas and finishes themselves.
Their inspiration flows from diverse sources, including the plant world, poetry and mythology. The creations of Atelier Passage Secret share a desire to express strong contrasts to highlight the beauty of porcelain, its whiteness and its fragility. “We marry it with wrought iron, with thick sandstone … We play with these mixtures, as with the work of light, to reveal all the qualities of the material. “
This artistic territory is a playground of experimentation, the duo is always discovering and exploring the technical and artistic potential of porcelain in unique pieces in limited series.
“We want the unusual, the unexpected, the poetry and the beautiful. We take the time to design and the time to create our projects. We claim this phase as the most valuable part of the object.”