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Barbican Makers Initiative: Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson, a contemporary ceramicist from Brighton, is the fourth emerging designer/maker to be showcased as part of the Barbican’s Makers initiative, an open call for new creative talent. Her range of handmade ceramic homewares, including exclusive walnut-finished items, is on sale now in the Barbican Shop. 

Since graduating from the Brighton University in 2016, Emma has established her own Brighton-based studio, designing and making handmade ceramics. Her functional homewares are often based around architecture, incorporating precise, angular forms and a degree of buildability into the pieces. Items from Emma’s Atro-City and Habitual ranges are available through the Barbican. Atro-City explores the revival of Brutalist architecture, employing heavy forms and asymmetry, along with Brutalist design philosophies such as allowing form to follow function and maintaining a truth to materials. Her bright ceramics allow the design aesthetic to be appreciated in a fresh and modern light. Habitual is a collection of simple, unadorned tableware, created for regular use to enhance meal times and become a part of everyday routine. These ranges are showcased in the recently expanded Barbican Shop and include a walnut-finished sugar pot and cup, exclusive to the Barbican.

Emma says, "My work takes inspiration from the heavy, sculptural forms of Brutalist architecture and the Barbican is a prime example of successful Brutalist architecture which has withstood the test of time. I'm so pleased to have been selected as the next Barbican Maker; I can't imagine a more perfect place to showcase my work and am looking forward to seeing it among lots of exciting design pieces in this iconic setting."

Applications have also now opened for the next Barbican Maker. The successful applicant's work will be on display in the Barbican Shop and the Barbican will work closely with the maker to identify the best space for their work within the store, how to display it, and will promote the work through itsmarketing, press and social media channels. This new opportunity underlines the Barbican’s commitment to working with emerging talent and supporting their artistic development. 

To buy Emma's products, visit:

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