industry insider
Ceramist Ben Medansky’s latest project involves ... sneakers?
Feb 26, 2018
Katy B. Olson

Adding to his roster of collabs with Kelly Wearstler, Herman Miller and Bergdorf Goodman, Los Angeles–based ceramicist Ben Medansky is teaming up with international sneaker brand Koio. The result? A pair of white leather sneakers that embody Medansky’s iron-rich clay medium, as well as a blue rubber sole and innovative ceramic-accented laces.

Koio and Ben Medansky
Koio and Ben Medansky

Why sneakers? “I wanted to collaborate with Koio because I admired their new take on a classic sneaker and their dedication to craftsmanship,” says Medansky, a Maison&Objet exhibitor. “I approached the design process by taking elements from my own art and applying them to the shoe. Blue, which we used for the sole, is an important color in my work because of its universal beauty. I also wanted to create something that I hadn’t seen before, which led to the ceramic accent on the laces that I call ‘shoelery.’”

Ben Medansky; courtesy Ben Medansky
Ben Medansky; courtesy Ben Medansky

Produced by the team that makes Chanel’s leather goods, the sneakers retail for $348 and are part of a series of collaborations for the leather brand. Medansky’s work has also been in the news lately for having been acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art‎.

“We wanted to collaborate with Ben because his innovative approach to the age-old art of ceramics feels very relevant to us. His work offers an impressively modern take on arguably the world’s most ancient art form, fusing a futuristic, industrial aesthetic with primitive, lo-fi form,” says Chris Wichert, co-founder and co-CEO of Koio.

“Just as his work is a meditation on minimalism and mechanics, remastered in an eternal material, Koio fuses a modern, minimalist, ready-for-anything aesthetic with a refreshing take on Old World craftsmanship. We loved Ben’s idea of including a ceramic accent on the shoe, in the form of ‘shoelery,’ as an ode to our parallel approaches to reinventing the ancient art forms of ceramics and shoemaking.”

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