I’ve been developing quite a thing for ceramics recently. I could now easily serve tea or coffee to near on 40 people with the amount of cups and vessels we have in our kitchen (my boyfriend would call it clutter I’m sure…). But I just added again to the collection, with some beautiful new favourites – a pair of espresso cups by London and Amsterdam-based design studio Nina+Co.
With a background in interior design, Nina Woodcroft founded Nina+Co in 2014. Focusing on sustainability and natural materials, Nina+Co believe in the duty of designers to reduce environmental impact and promote the notion of wellbeing. As well as currently designing a cafe for homelessness charity Centrepoint in Soho and a bakery which offers opportunities for vulnerable women in East London, Nina also creates small-scale batch produced ceramics, as seen here.
Her debut tableware collection, The Breakfast Collection, made in collaboration with London-based consultancy The Ceramicists, comprises a plate, bowl, mug, butter dish and these little espresso cups that handily double up as egg cups. They’re all made of responsibly sourced materials and batch-produced to maximise efficiency and reduce waste.
Drawing inspiration from her multicultural heritage – she grew up in London to an Australian mother and Indian and Danish father – Nina is drawn towards minimal, clean lines and simple, uncomplicated design – a girl after my own heart. I chatted to her about The Breakfast Collection and the thinking process behind it.
How did you get to where you are today?
I got a job as a receptionist for a few months after school at a large interior design studio in London. A short while after I left, one of the lovely designers asked me back as an assistant designer. I learnt on the job, picked things up quickly and grew with the company. 10 years later, having worked on international five-star hotel projects around the world (Paris, Moscow, China) I was made an associate of the company.
In 2014, I decided to start Nina+Co in order to work on some smaller, more intimate projects and find interesting opportunities for collaboration. It has allowed for more creativity across a broader range of projects, and has enabled me to create my own product ranges, like The Breakfast Collection.
What is your inspiration?
Natural materials. Light. Better living. I find inspiration in my Danish heritage – I’m drawn towards minimal, clean lines. Simple, uncomplicated, useful design. Travels and new experiences provide me with a wealth of inspiration.
What does an average day look like for you?
I’m up early and like to take my time over breakfast – I make plenty of time for food in my day. There is no average day; that’s what I love about my job. It can be emails in a cafe, sketching in the office, site meetings around town or getting messy in the ceramics studio. I’m now spending half my time in Amsterdam and I’m really enjoying getting to know the city.
Can you talk me through The Breakfast Collection?
Small-scale, batch produced ceramics made from black clay with a white glaze. New takes on everyday pieces, encouraging everyone to spend a little more time over breakfast. A bowl which tilts invitingly towards you; A simple, elegant plate; An espresso cup/egg cup; A mug with a unique and tactile handle; And a butter dish with useful and beautiful angles.
I took time sourcing the ingredients, which are from as nearby as geologically possible. The clay is all from UK soil.
How are the pieces made?
I work with a talented artisan, Stephanie of The Ceramicists, to produce the collection at her South-East London studio. Initially moulds were made, and now pieces are slip-cast by hand in small batches. Each piece goes through many stages; once cast and dried they are fettled, fired, glazed, fired and finished.
They are then packaged in fully-recycled materials before being dispatched to their new homes.
What else are you working on at the moment?
A mixture of residential and commercial interiors. Following the success of Saint Espresso coffee shop a year ago, I’m doing a few more cafes including Luminary Bakery in Stoke Newington, and a beautiful cafe in the heart of London’s Soho for the homelessness charity Centrepoint, where works have just begun on site. I’ve also just completed plans for Nusa Kitchen, a south-east Asian restaurant in central London.
What does the future hold for Nina+Co?
More product lines inspired by particular, innovative materials: cork, coconut-husk board and a textile made from pineapple leaf fibres. Beautiful interiors combining my experience in hotel design with my passion for sustainability and community.
Thanks Nina! I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next, especially anything with cork, but for now I’m thoroughly enjoying the little moments in the morning with my espresso cups. It’s my favourite time of day, when I can pause and think (and wake up!) before I take on the day. And I love having objects in my home that elevate those daily rituals.
All images my own except of Nina.