There’s something uniquely captivating about glass and ceramics; I’m not sure whether it’s the appealing colours, the inherent fragility of the materials, or the winning combination of utility and beauty, but whatever it is I’m a fan. Since 1999, Vessel Gallery has been the place to go to in London for the world’s finest contemporary glass and ceramic art. Forget glitzy department stores filled with miniature crystal animals, this part shop/part gallery space has cutting-edge collections which range from functional Scandinavian pieces to flamboyant Italian art glass, and regularly holds exhibitions open to the public.
Who are you? Angel Monzon, co-founder and creative director of Vessel Gallery.
Where can we find you? 114 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill Gate, London W112PW. www.vesselgallery.com
Describe your store in five words: Exquisite, Quality, Handmade, Collectable, Bespoke.
What makes you different? We offer the best in contemporary art glass and decorative lighting from British and International artists. Our recent Vessel lighting editions have just been presented in Dubai and now we are off to Milan.
How you decide what makes the cut? First all of all there must be quality in the choice of materials and the highest craftsmanship involved in the making process. We are also looking for products that tell a story, that are innovative or push the boundaries of the material. We work with both established artists and newly graduated ones.
What were you doing before you did this? My first career was in fashion. Then I relocated to the UK (from Sweden via Spain) for furniture and product design studies at Kingston University and at the Royal College of Art. I made my own furniture collections for some time and designed for companies in Japan.
If you were starting again what advice would you give yourself? Set up business with a finance partner who can advise you about the ups and downs of the game.
What are you most proud of? I am proud of projects where Vessel has acted as catalyst between talents and industry, like our Salviati Meets London exhibition a decade ago where we worked with Tom Dixon, Anish Kapoor, Nigel Coates and Thomas Heatherwick among others.
Do you have a favourite thing in the store right now? I love everything but recently we started showing wonderful glass centre pieces by Danish artist Tavs Jorgensen, they are very large so you need a BIG coffee table. I also love the work by French/American glass artist Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert and we recently sold an installation to the Mudac museum in Switzerland.
What's hot for 2013? Our new Balustrade collection of lighting and object d'art by Simon Moore.
Every Wednesday 'Indie of the week' celebrates the best independent stores around. These places sell interesting and varied collections of design-related things you don't see everywhere else. They may support young or local designers or be great at finding unique things from around the world. By thinking a little more creatively about what they stock they are fighting the bland homogenisation of so much of the high street. And since I'm down with the realities of modern life, online only stores count too, because a beautiful and easy to use website is just as delightful an encounter in cyberspace.
Do you you have a favourite store? I'd love to hear from you.