A Modern Reinterpretation of a Spanish Botijo

Designed by Carlos Jimenez during his internship at NormannCopenhagen and codesigned with the Danish designer Simon Legald, Junto is a collection of carafe and cups that captivates with its traditional charm, revitalized through contemporary approaches. One piece of the collection in particular stands out, and that is the botijo. The design upholds the characteristic elements of the traditional botijo while infusing it with a unique and revitalized aesthetic.

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As Carlos states When looking at the pieces from Junto collection people can easily recognize elements and details from traditional pottery pieces such as the botijos. However, at the same time, the soft shapes give these pieces an elegant look so they can fit in many different environments.” My first glimpse of the Junto series left me spellbound by its refined allure. It preserves its classical roots while undergoing a redesign that exudes sophistication.

Despite my fascination with the botijo, I find myself unable to muster the same enthusiasm for the cups. Nonetheless, they still possess a certain beauty to them. While they share design elements such as the use of dual tones and vertical lines along the surface, I believe both the botijo and the cups fail to harmonize together. The carafe boasts meticulous curves around the spout area, creating an organic form that perfectly contrasts with the vertical lines running along the body, resulting in a captivating ensemble. Conversely, the cups only feature vertical lines along the body, lending a rigidity to the design that, combined with a pronounced verticality, renders the final design rather static. I yearn for more organic and rounded shapes that would harmonize with the botijo and create a cohesive whole.

Steeped in the rich tapestry of Spanish culture, the traditional botijo has long been revered as a symbol of heritage and tradition, its clay construction echoing centuries of craftsmanship and utility. Now, from this legacy of tradition and craftsmanship, emerges a new collection that seamlessly blends the timeless allure of the botijo with a contemporary sensibility.

The botijo is a traditional ceramic vessel that is widespread in Spanish culture, used primarily for storing and cooling water. Characterized by its distinctive shape, the botijo usually has a bulbous body, a spout for dispensing water and a small hole for pouring the water through. Its design is ingeniously conceived to facilitate evaporative cooling, as water seeping through the porous clay walls evaporates, thus extracting heat from the interior and effectively cooling the contents. Revered for its functionality and practicality, the botijo has endured as a quintessential element of Spanish heritage, especially in hot climate regions, where it is a reliable and refreshing means of hydration.

To embark upon a redesign of an object as ancient and deeply ingrained in culture as the botijo, a designer must consider, among other factors, form and functionality. Historically, the botijo served as a vital tool for peasants, effectively maintaining the coolness of water. However, its relevance has dwindled over the years with technological advancements, rendering its use virtually obsolete in modern times. Today, the botijo exists solely as a nostalgic relic, passed down through generations with fading recollection, remembered only by the elderly. Today it is used as a decoration or as a jug, which leaves us with an interesting question, if it’s functionality changes, is it still the same object?

Concerning the botijo’s form, attention is drawn to its meticulously designed spout and filling orifice. Positioned at a precise 90-degree angle to each other and tilted at 45 degrees relative to the horizontal axis, this configuration serves as a testament to the botijo’s ergonomic and functional considerations. The rationale behind such placement lies in the practicality of facilitating water flow while minimizing the physical strain of handling what could potentially be a substantial weight. It is remarkable how the evolution of design priorities has shifted over time; once emphasizing functionality over aesthetics, the contemporary ethos now often prioritizes visual appeal.

Despite having other distinguishing features such as the handle or the bulbous body, I believe the designers made the right decision in focusing solely on the spout and the filling orifice. By retaining only these elements, they have ensured the botijo’s relevance in contemporary settings, while also providing them with a subtle redesign while maintaining the original essence.

“Junto series was born inspired by the traditional Spanish botijo. The main goal was to create a new home accessory inspired by the botijo, so the main material should be terracotta. During the design process, many different shapes were studied by checking different old botijos and pottery objects.

The result combines the two spouts from the classic botijo with sophisticated and contemporary shape” the company writes, on a section of their website.

The brand aimed to craft a collection inspired by Southern Europe with a Scandinavian twist, maintaining the terracotta essence of traditional Spanish botijos while infusing the earthy hues reminiscent of clay. This fusion brings Mediterranean warmth to the table while infusing light Scandinavian decor.

Junto establishes an harmonious visual aesthetic by combining matt and glazed surfaces, as well as grooved and smooth finishes. However, beyond aesthetics, the grooved surface offers enhanced grip, while the glazed surface ensures a pleasurable drinking experience.

The entire Junto collection is available for purchase directly from NormannCopenhagen.

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Source: core77

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