Daniel Baer is the Founder of Monoware - a British tableware brand, designing tabletop essentials that are meticulously crafted to have a place in everyday life. Defined by simple, elegant forms and a natural color palette, his vision is for timeless design and effortless adaptability: showcasing every meal and blending with individual style. We chat to Daniel about the importance of collaboration, and creating objects with timeless appeal…
What led you to start your business?
My passion for ceramics started with pottery classes in a small studio in South East London. Once a week my partner and I would rush from work for the thrill of shaping clay into bowls and cups. We would give away most of the pieces to friends and family and grew to appreciate what was desirable and useful. Around the same time, we were looking to upgrade our dinnerware, but were overwhelmed by fleeting trends and choices that compromised on quality and design. I felt there was a gap to serve a generation of like minded food lovers and households who consistently value timeless design and durability.
Like LPOL, conscious design and expert craftsmanship is at the heart of your brand. How have you achieved this?
Working with clay requires the same workmanship whether you’re making a one-off design or producing a hundred. We’ve spent our time researching and prototyping with our collaborator, ceramicist Ian McIntyre, and the Portuguese family-run workshop where our ceramics are made, so that each piece fits into your everyday life, no matter who you are or what you do.
Several of our shapes have become household staples – there’s the mug that fits an Aeropress as well as being big enough for a cup of tea. The cereal bowl that works for breakfast or dessert. A grain bowl wide enough to house big salads, heaps of pasta or soupy broths.
Inspired by colors and textures found in nature, we extensively research and develop glazes. It is a lengthy process, but it is important to us that all the colours feel timeless and have a distinctive neutral appearance.
What steps have you taken to be more sustainable as a business?
We made a conscious decision to collaborate with makers, partners and factories who care about the long-term impact of our products – the ones who are actively committed to reducing their footprint by constantly re-evaluating how things are made. In a bid to reduce the impact on the environment, our tableware is created in a single firing system and the chosen clay has been designed to vitrify at a much lower temperature than most stoneware. Combined, these innovations save a huge amount of energy in the making process.
How would you describe your day-to-day?
Without exception, each day starts with an early wake-up call by our toddler, followed by a race to switch on the coffee machine. The first espresso in the morning is closely followed by the nursery run – and ideally a brief moment to pause. No day is really the same at the studio – at the moment we are in the middle of developing a new glaze which will launch later in the year and which we are very excited about.
What does home mean to you?
Rather than a specific place, home is a feeling of comfort and belonging. It’s my friends, family and community - something which keeps evolving as we journey through life.
Name a forever item of clothing or accessory that you couldn't live without?
One of my most worn items of clothing is an indigo coloured shirt I bought a while ago in Japan. It is collarless, has side pockets and a center box-pleat. The shirt has become part of my daily uniform. I have dyed the shirt several times over the years to bring back its vibrant color, but now the fabric is tearing – luckily I just recently found a similar cloth at Merchant & Mills in Rye and I look forward to recreating it.