Mikasa “Life Style” – ’90s Postmodernism by John Bergen
This very smart design from producer Mikasa is from the Postmodern era and is by Canadian Designer and Potter, John Bergen who was active in the 1980s and 1990s. It is called “Life Style”. Studying the design you will see influences of Memphis Design, Art Deco, Modernism and Pop Art – all of which sum up the style of the 1990s very well.
The predominant colour of the pattern is a semi matte teal green with blue violet and beige accents on a slightly off white base gloss. There are some lovely textures and subtleties in the colours as well. It was in production 1992-1996.
Until recently I never knew about this design, but I discovered a whole dinner-set of it recently and wanted to find out more. I was taken with the well resolved and bold design and how it fitted each shape or form really well.
The design is one of the many very smart Intaglio series produced by Mikasa – Intaglio signifies it is from Mikasa’s commercial stoneware production – very tough and hard wearing durable ceramic (which other well known series like “Arabella” are also made from)
In researching to find out more about this designer, I found the information of in, of all places, The Bakers Journal of Canada which where I found the following information:
Bergen, who had never worked in a bakery or a restaurant prior to opening the City Café Bakery, trained as a designer at the Ontario College of Art & Design. He had a small ceramics factory with three or four employees for about 20 years, first in Toronto and then in downtown Kitchener.
I was designing dinnerware for Mikasa and supplying them with ceramic vases, but then in the spring of 1999 we realized the future wasn’t there anymore,” he says. “So I closed [the factory] down and six weeks later it was all done. And at that point I had no idea what to do with my life.”Direction came from Rudy Dorner, Bergen’s advisor for the ceramics business (and one of the City Café’s partners). ……Dorner suggested doing something in that area. And so, the City Café Bakery was born.
The design also came in a black glossy version:
You can read more about the history of Mikasa on their website HERE
Researching John’s “Life Style” design led me to also finding some really striking studio pieces from John Bergen Studios.
From what I can see by searching the net, the Cafe which John started up is still in operation, and John Bergen still appears to be there. Interesting to also read how the Cafe operates on an honour system in the article in the Bakers Journal linked above or by going to the cafe website HERE.
There are a number of pieces of the Mikasa Life Style design currently for sale in my Etsy store HERE