A conversation with Léa Zana: Founder of Vaisselle

Portrait of Léa Zana, founder and artistic director of Vaisselle © @hana.snow

Artsper is delighted to introduce our audience to Léa Zana, the founder of Vaisselle, a handmade ceramics brand. This unique homeware company is based in London, created in Spain, and designed by its French-born founder, Léa. We talked to the founder about her background in fashion, the steps she took to start her own company, and the influences on her creative and professional processes!

1. Welcome Léa! We're so pleased to chat with you. You're the founder of Vaisselle, a homeware ceramics label. Could you tell us why you decided to start Vaisselle?

Lovely to chat with you too. I started Vaisselle after being in the fashion industry for 15 years. I am originally a footwear designer and have worked for luxury labels in Paris, and for highstreet brands (topshop/asos) when relocating to London. I learned a lot from those experiences, the main thing being that I didn't want to work in fashion anymore! I had a passion for ceramics and homeware since I was a child so I decided to take the leap when Covid hit. I wanted to create a label that's very personal, sustainable, ethical and where people come to see beautiful pieces handmade with love.  

2. Given your history of working in fashion, why did you opt for ceramics as opposed to something more closely related like textiles?

Fashion was great but the opposite of easy, and I wanted to move away from that world. Furniture textiles could have been an option and a softer move but my father actually sells textiles. Again, I wanted to do something completely different. Ceramics was a no brainer, since I have collected plates since I was a child.  

LeftCollection miniature storyboard, hand sketched by Léa Zana © @vaisselle.boutique / Right: Bon Appétit & Dinner Date plates, Hacienda Collection © @hana.snow

3. We love the vibrant colors and recurrent floral motifs in your work. What is the design process like?

Each collection is a result of my travels. I had the chance to travel from very early on (my parents were hippies) and this has forged my creativity and my thought process. When I start designing it's as if I was going back to my memories and applying those images and sensations into a sketch. It could be the impact of a colour, the walls of a house in a lost village for example, and creating a vase with these harmonies. Colours are always the starting point, I create harmonies and then go from there.  

4. Vaisselle seems to embody a seamless fusion of functionality and artistry. How do you approach the challenge of creating ceramics that are both visually stunning and practical for everyday use?

I studied Fine Arts and worked for highstreet brands. So my whole career has been about finding the balance between what I live for (creativity) and the customers' needs. I don't see it as a challenge anymore, more like a recipe where I need to find the right balance between design and functionality.

LeftHolly Baby and Her Holiness Vase, Hacienda Collection © @hana.snow / Right: Vaisselle sketches from the London studio © @vaisselle.boutique

5. Is there a particular artist or artistic movement that inspires you in your work?  

Surrealism and impressionism. My favorite artists are Dali and Guell. The way they use shapes and patterns is mind blowing. On a more classic and common note, Monet uses colors to perfection.

6. We're always on the lookout for new art or design exhibitions. Have you seen any good ones lately?  

Alex Katz at the Guggenheim in New York was my favorite this last year. I'm looking forward to going to the “Open Doors" exhibition of the tile maker Huguet Mallorca in 2 weeks.

7. Lastly, we have to know - if you could have dinner with any art figure, dead or alive, who would it be and why?  

Gala and Salvador Dali. I am obsessed with his art and would love to see the dynamics between him and his muse. Also, I think that it would be a really fun time!

LeftPortrait of Léa © @hana.snow / Right: The Jean Genie vase, Hacienda collection © @hana.snow

Their favorite artworks

Fine Art Drawings, London, NY, LA, Tokyo and other cities in Asia, Yoshitomo Nara

London, NY, LA, Tokyo and other cities in Asia

Yoshitomo Nara

Fine Art Drawings - 30 x 21 cm Fine Art Drawings - 11.8 x 8.3 inch


Design, Insomnie d'animaux de montagne, Jean-Yves Sevestre

Insomnie d'animaux de montagne

Jean-Yves Sevestre

Design - 430 x 300 x 2 cm Design - 169.3 x 118.1 x 0.8 inch


Design, Vintage folding chair Ninfea, Gio Ponti

Vintage folding chair Ninfea

Gio Ponti

Design - 71 x 66 x 46 cm Design - 28 x 26 x 18.1 inch


Design, Pair of lamps in the style, Tommaso Barbi

Pair of lamps in the style

Tommaso Barbi

Design - 38 x 50 x 20 cm Design - 15 x 19.7 x 7.9 inch


Fine Art Drawings, Glazed terracotta jars with spoon, Karina Lara

Glazed terracotta jars with spoon

Karina Lara

Fine Art Drawings - 34 x 42.5 cm Fine Art Drawings - 13.4 x 16.7 inch


Painting, Days of freedom, Betty Acquah

Days of freedom

Betty Acquah

Painting - 76.2 x 101.6 x 10.2 cm Painting - 30 x 40 x 4 inch


Print, A Stroll through the Bloemenmarkt, Kim Lyon Design

A Stroll through the Bloemenmarkt

Kim Lyon Design

Print - 100 x 70 x 3 cm Print - 39.4 x 27.6 x 1.2 inch


Painting, Douceur d'été, Aude Herlédan

Douceur d'été

Aude Herlédan

Painting - 41 x 35 x 2 cm Painting - 16.1 x 13.8 x 0.8 inch


Print, Grand pin, Aurélie Trabaud

Grand pin

Aurélie Trabaud

Print - 60 x 30 x 0.2 cm Print - 23.6 x 11.8 x 0.1 inch


Print, Bouquet de fleurs, Roger Mühl

Bouquet de fleurs

Roger Mühl

Print - 67 x 53 cm Print - 26.4 x 20.9 inch


Print, Le mannequin, Man Ray

Le mannequin

Man Ray

Print - 50 x 35 x 0.2 cm Print - 19.7 x 13.8 x 0.1 inch


Painting, Blue assoluto, Alessandra Bisi

Blue assoluto

Alessandra Bisi

Painting - 100 x 70 x 0.3 cm Painting - 39.4 x 27.6 x 0.1 inch


Painting, Puddle 8, Simon Findlay

Puddle 8

Simon Findlay

Painting - 20 x 15 x 2 cm Painting - 7.9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inch


Painting, Others, Yelda Inecik


Yelda Inecik

Painting - 29 x 21 x 0.1 cm Painting - 11.4 x 8.3 x 0 inch


Painting, Fraîches comme le printemps, Chantal Proulx

Fraîches comme le printemps

Chantal Proulx

Painting - 122 x 76 x 4 cm Painting - 48 x 29.9 x 1.6 inch