A New Era – Wedgwood in Web 3
Josiah Wedgwood was a trailblazer ahead of his time. An innovator with a social conscience, scientific in his approach, inventive in his marketing and philanthropic in his attitude. These principles and values are just as relevant in today’s hyperconnected world. As Wedgwood enters Web 3, we ask…what would Josiah do?
Since Alice Bastin was appointed as Creative Director for Wedgwood in March 2022, she’s been inspired by Josiah Wedgwood’s legacy as a pioneer and design innovator and his reputation for constantly disrupting and challenging traditional industry thinking by leading through innovation and new technology.
Commenting on Bastin’s appointment, Michael Konig, VP Design and NPD Vita, Fiskars Group adds “we know that making a heritage brand culturally relevant in today’s digital world is hard. Doing so without compromising the brand’s history is just exceptionally hard. The way Alice applies her long experience from luxury fashion to elevate our brands and propel them into the cultural conversation has been convincing from the start. Combined with the passion she brings to these brands makes the results feel so personal and original. A unique combination that we were lucky to find in her.”
Alice’s previous roles at luxury fashion houses Chloé and Celine, as well as her most recent tenure at Alexander McQueen, have placed her in an unrivalled position to express Wedgwood’s heritage and craft through impactful collaborations and creative brand storytelling. Alice’s work focuses on pushing the boundaries of materials and this creative approach has led Bastin to explore the possibilities of reimagining one of Josiah Wedgwood’s most recognisable archive pieces, the Portland vase, as a NFT and collectable in the digital space.
Wedgwood in Web 3 is Alice Bastin’s first public facing activity as Creative Director. Initially Bastin will focus on marketing, experiences and collaborations with a new direction and design expression for product expected to launch from September 2023 onwards.
Reflecting on the first brand experience for Wedgwood under her new creative direction, Alice says “we’re taking our 260 year old heritage into Web 3 to create modern ways for our consumers to collect Wedgwood and be a part of our community. Physical ceramics have certain complexities, in Web 3 we can express Wedgwood in totally new techniques and in colours which would be impossible to achieve in Jasperware.”
Bastin has commissioned three of today’s leading digital artists to reimagine and recontextualise the iconic designs and creative codes of Wedgwood with a new visual expression. Roger Kilimanjaro, Krista Kim and Tom Furse demonstrate a creative sensitivity to Wedgwood’s past, but their unique digital aesthetic and expressive interpretations, from 3D modelling and sophisticated looping to AI and machine learning technologies, create a totally new visual interpretation of Josiah Wedgwood’s most recognisable designs.
Revealed at the first Wedgwood in Web 3 event presented in the Hintze Sculpture Gallery at the V&A Museum South Kensington, the artworks will be displayed on large digital screens alongside the three original jasperware pieces, the Portland, Borghese and Homer vases. A limited series of 300 NFT’s of the Portland vase will also be minted and gifted to guests attending the event.
The 300 NFT’s were created under the creative direction of Alice Bastin in collaboration with Assaf Reeb’s XXII Studio. The process involved 3D scanning, modelling and coding, culminating in a generative series of artworks. Each 3D render in this series is unique, featuring its own combination of traits such as materials, colours, ornamentation and background effects. This generative process provides owners with a completely unique piece of Wedgwood history. Commenting on the collaboration, Assaf adds “this is a pioneering and bold approach by a heritage brand, where certain parameters are predetermined by the designer, who then lets the algorithm select the final combinations.”
Wedgwood in Web 3 shows the brand’s ambition to do things differently and marks the beginning of a new era. A creative culture that respects Wedgwood’s rich and storied heritage, but is not afraid to challenge preconceptions, encourage experimentation and embrace innovation through pioneering design and unexpected collaborations.
Sjoerd Leeflang, VP English and Crystal Brands, Fiskars Group comments “Wedgwood is one of the leading brands in Fiskars Group portfolio and the brand with most potential for global growth. Wedgwood champions its strong roots within a market where it all began and the UK offers exciting opportunities for growth. Our home ground, London in particular, is perfectly placed to introduce the reinvigorated Wedgwood brand.”