Aileen Lee talks to Dobrawa Brach, the Managing director at Arran Street East.
What’s your background?
I studied History of Art, and for many years worked in Irish Architecture Foundation in Dublin. In 2015,I was responsible for the programme of exhibitions in the Coach House in Dublin Castle during Irish Design 2015 — a year-long programme of events aimed at raising awareness of design.
Since late 2017, I’ve been working with the team at Arran Street East which is a small pottery studio based in Dublin city centre.
What’s a typical workday like for you?
Monday is my favourite day of the week! Our team meets every Monday to discuss the week ahead and talk about the results from the previous week.
We open the kilns that fired over the weekend and it’s the best part of the day. The colourful, vibrant and beautiful pots, jugs and bowls are slowly revealed, and we all feel rewarded just looking at them!
We then plan the throwing and glazing schedules, discuss current orders and any ongoing developments. After the meeting we all go to our workstations — potters to the throwing studio, and glazers to the glazing room adjacent to our busy shop.
The office is at the top of the building and I am usually there for the day. My room is next to the classroom where we run throwing classes for beginners — it’s great to hear and see participants trying something new, and slowly getting absorbed in this ancient and meditative art of throwing. We fire the kilns three times a week and I like to pop my head into the studio when that happens. It’s a masterclass in packing and stacking! Each cubic centimetre is filled to maximise the space.
I also like to spend some time in our shop on the groundfloor. Looking through the windows at the busy market area is such a unique experience right in the city centre.
Tell us about a favourite project or design you have worked on?
I really enjoyed working with the team on the Coffee Pour Over, a handmade stoneware filter coffee brewer. Our goal was tocreate a product that would enhance the coffee brewing experience and make the best filter coffee.
It took a few rounds of prototyping and an extensive testing period to finalise it. We consulted with a roaster from Farmhand Coffee Roasters whose knowledge and experience helped to inform the design decisions.
Making the ceramic Pour Over requires the finest craftsmanship. All stages require custom-made tools and the experienced hands of our potters. It takes two weeks before the Pour Over can be put on the shelf of our shop.
What’s your design style?
Arran Street East takes time to design things that work, using traditional processes to handcraft functional products for everyday life. From the grippable handles to the weight and volume of each pot, the pieces are made to withstand everyday use.
What inspires your work?
The Arran Street East colours have been inspired by our surroundings. Fruit and vegetables from the market across the streetinspired our first collection with glazes named after them: Pomegranate, Lemon, Pink Grapefruit, Cabbage and Potato. Our secondcollection of studio-made glazes was inspired by Dublin’s architecture reflecting the city-centre stone, slate, and steel of our city.
What’s your favourite trend at the moment?
Buying local and supporting local makers is my favourite trend. Supporting artists and craftspeople from our neighbourhoods benefits our communities.
What’s your most treasured possession?
I don’t really treasure objects; I believe that experiences and memories we create with, and for, our loved ones are more important.Who is your favourite designer?
The great women designers: Lucienne Day, Aino Aalto and Eileen Gray.
What would be a dream project for you to work on?
I love textiles, linen especially, so I think doing something creative with natural textiles would be a lovely project to work on.
Have you any design tips?
Also, universal design is an important aspect. Cater for any and every user,regardless of their abilities.
arranstreeteast.ie; Instagram: @arranstreeteast; Facebook.com/arranstreeteast