Forma Rosa’s Bubbling Ceramics Look About to Burst

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Forma Rosa had their first solo show at Alcova at this year’s Milan Design Week. Photos by Jonathan Hökklo


May 11, 2023

Maria Teresa Castillo and Santiago Braby Brown create objects intimately connected with their identities, nature, and space. Now based in Brooklyn, Santi and Maria co-founded Forma Rosa Studio to investigate the impacts of growing up in a place dictated by nature—like Maria’s home Peru and Santi’s home Bellington, Washington—and of technology’s ability to mimic natural phenomena. They combine nature’s influence, digital production methods, and traditional craft in their bubbling, dynamic ceramic creations.

The lamps and vessels of Forma Rosa Studio’s Botryoidal collection boil, pucker, and burst like molten lava. The Wave Form collection is more reserved, its form expanding and contracting regularly as it reaches outwards. Both collections were digitally designed in code modeled after natural growth patterns. The Botryoidal collection takes its name from this fractal growth, in which crystals grow radially outward from nuclei of particulate matter (like sand or dust) in an environment.

The code is used to make 3D prototypes so Maria and Santi can finalize and approve the designs before sending them off to Peru, where they materialize in ceramic via a traditional slip casting process using complex molds. Then the handcrafted ceramics are treated with custom crystal glazes that accentuate the bubbly and wavy patterns, pooling in crevices to create deeper hues and smoothing across the convex areas.

“As of today, we are immersed into ceramics and the possibilities that this medium has for us to play with,” Maria says. “Playing with form, material and finishes, is a complex process where this ‘alive’ material shrinks, warps and moves during its firing process and designing with it is a beautiful combination of controlling and letting the material itself dictate the final design,” Santi continues.

Following their first solo show, “Natura Oscura,” at Alcova during Milan Design Week, Maria and Santi are excited to be opening a showroom based in Ridgewood, New York during NYCxDesign. There, they will be showing a number of projects from this year, including the Botryoidal and Wave Form collections, ceramic crafted seating, and cast bronze mirrors inspired by natural phenomena.