Mariana Laan is ceramic designer and the founder of Nüüd Ceramics. After she finished the ceramic design course at the Estonian Arts Academy in 2014, she moved into her studio where she created her products, which included dishware and interior decorations. She handcrafts the items herself; her style can be portrayed as Nordic and minimalistic. Laan’s work has been showcased in international exhibitions, in countries such as: Estonia, Finland, France and England. Her creations have also found their way to a selection of prestigious restaurants.
What was your first real job? How did you get inspired to work in the design industry?
After finishing high school, I studied economics at the Tartu University, however during my time there I dreamt about studying architecture. I got my first internship working as a business consultant. Then I thought, entrepreneurship could be the right job for me. However, art was closer to my heart, so I finally decided to begin my studies at Estonian Arts Academy, where I studied ceramic design. This is where my journey began as a designer, which suited me as this job entails both art and business.
What does your typical day involve?
Ideally, I spend my days in my studio, working on prototypes. Also, I work on maintaining my brand: sourcing raw materials, organising transport and production. Even though I have a lot of work, I really like being a designer as there’s a lot of freedom in planning my days and that I don’t have a set routine.
Are there motivational quotes that you live by or that inspire your work?
“The further you stray from the starting point; hard work begins to matter more than talent…”
If you could be any designer, who would you be?
For example, Bernard Schottlander’s floor lamp, ‘Mantis’’ creator. I like how the item is aesthetically pleasing, yet functional, and also features pleasant details.
If you could, what Estonian designer would you collaborate with?
It would be exciting to collaborate with designers who work with different materials, especially with metal or glass. It was fun to work with interior designers and with top chefs. I hope similar projects will happen again soon. At the moment, my main interest is experimenting with food dishes and things associated with this concept.
What was the last cultural event that you have visited?
I go to a lot of exhibitions, the last one I went to was the ‘Century of Estonian City Homes’ in the Architecture Museum.
Translated by Margit Potsepp