An interview with Founder and Creative Director Joanna Matyjaszczuk

Joanna Matyjaszczuk, the founder and creative director of Gurasu Crystal keeps setting up new trends in crystalware. Her design style’s secret? It must reflect on the past but live in the now.

 

 

Birds of Paradise Crystal Collection Banner
 

 

Birds of Paradise Crystal Collection

 

 

What was the reason you decided to form Gurasu Crystal?

My desire was to produce beautiful and timeless objects designed to enrich everyday lives through the use of artisanal skills of crystal craftsmen and craftswomen. The problem, I realised is that for the past decade crystalware was considered as an object too luxurious and traditional to meet the expectations of our modern lives.

This approach made a number of factories in the UK, Holland and France struggle and close down. I believe that showing that crystalware can be used more often than just for Christmas only, I decided to found a company that can create a demand for this timeless product and give work to people who create it!

Simply, I want crystalware to last and flourish!

What is the response of your customer?

My customers love our crystals, especially the coloured pieces such as Rainbow or Birds of Paradise! We have a showroom in London where they can view and purchase pieces. Their feedback has been amazing and very rewarding!

What does Gurasu mean?

Gurasu is crystal glass in Japanese. When reading a number of books about Japan I became so in love with this county that I decided to call my new venture Gurasu. To me it sounded right, exotic and most importantly, it means crystal.

What inspires your ideas?

I am inspired by fashion blogs and my favourite exhibitions at V&A.  Nature plays an important role in my design process too. When creating Birds of Paradise I decided to use very vibrant hues, which are typical for tropical birds and are a trend we have seen across fashion and interior design in 2014, with exotic-coloured flowers including emerald, citrine and fuschia.

We will be launching our new collection at the beginning of 2015 ,of which details I cannot disclose yet which are inspired by Mother Earth.

What makes a design classic…?

Technically, a design classic must tick three boxes: it must be original, it must delight the eye of the user and crucially, it must be fit for purpose.

Practically, it must be timeless. You can pass a piece on to your children and grandchildren and they will still love it and keep it in their homes! These are the must have qualities in a crystal piece.

Describe the process you go through to turn your ideas into crystal glassware/décor?

I always start with Gurasu’s brand aesthetics i.e. what we are famous for and what our customers look for in our designs. I then look at shape and form and question if there is a need for the product. However, often amazing ideas comes to my mind unexpectedly and then I sketch them in my design book so I don’t forget them.

What makes you forget about time?

I totally get lost in time when I am in my favourite museum, V&A. I can walk there for many hours and spend event more time in their libraries and the book shop. I always leave with a new book!

What skills do you look for in young designers who collaborate with you?

Every designer who I met and invited to the collaboration sold their design with their personality!

Despite having interesting and meaningful designs I always like to see enthusiasm, ambition with a significant hunger for success. Mainly I have gut feelings about the right person.

What are your plans for Gurasu?

We are planning to launch two sister brands of Gurasu Crystal –  Gurasu Exclusive in Q4 of 2014 and Gurasu Design at the beginning of 2015…

I am very excited about this as we have been working with amazing personalities to bring these collections to life.

And, finally, what is your favourite colour?

Fuschia, this piece is one of my favourites.

Raspberry Pineapple Wine Goblet

 

The culture of drinking beer in a glass

Travel back in history and open your mind to 1980’s Great Britain. The tradition of drinking beer in a pint glass has changed over the last three decades. Since 1920’s drinking beer was synonym of a glass with a handle called a tankard, in other words, a jug.

In 1970’s this well – known tradition of drinking from a dimpled pint pots which some of you remember from episodes of Emmerdale was replaced with a straight glass.

Beer Glasses, set of 2

The main reason was that it felt more appropriate to drink lager from the conical.
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Wedding dresses as design inspiration

Last Monday, as a member of my favourite, Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), I was invited to attend the special members evening to enjoy the exhibition with a glass of champagne accompanied by a beautiful and delicate rhythm of a live music.

Joanna in wedding dress with hair stylist

With hair stylist before the big moment

However, it was not for a glass of champagne, although always my preferred companion to anything related to celebration, nor for the live music. My desire was to escape for a moment from the drawing desk of Gurasu and to contemplate on something intellectual. I was curious to find how the relationship between design and protest of different sorts influenced the ways people have created objects with a specific purpose – sometimes for effect, sometimes to communicate, often both.
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Gurasu meets Prezola the leading wedding gift list

Many of us might have wandered around John Lewis when choosing gifts for either ours or our loved one’s wedding list. So did I. Until I have discovered something even better, it’s called Prezola, the leading wedding gift list online service.

A couple of weeks ago we were delighted to learn that Prezola was interested in inviting Gurasu Crystal to their crystal ware brands portfolio.

Wedding gift banner

The platform is very sophisticated and accessible at the same time. Sophisticated because couples can create a list of items for family and friends to choose from the most desired pieces out of a cool 30.000 products from leading brands. Accessible because all those items you have fantasized about are available from the comfort of their own armchair!

For Gurasu Crystal it is essential to be on such a platform as most of our crystal glasses or interior accessories are bought as a special wedding gift. Being a relatively new brand on crystal arena allows us to give our customers more trust and credibility in our brand. Once they decide to purchase from Gurasu, we can start surprising and exceeding their expectations.

Our collections at Prezola include all our bestselling coloured crystal ranges such as Birds of Paradise, Pure Lux or Pineapple as well as Dots crystal votives and empery candlesticks. If you however, cannot find the item on Prezola, they will talk to us and organize desired piece for you!

We would of course be more than happy to find you the perfect crystalware wedding gift from our vast and growing collection.

Summer Saturdays at Gurasu Crystal

I have to truly admit that I am looking forward to our next Summer Saturdays event which Queens Parade, the super trendy shopping destination of Willesden Green High Street, is organizing.

The event runs every first Saturday of each month and this time, we promise, the event will be worth of your visit.

For this Saturday, 5th of July, we invited a stunning flute musician, Jemma Freestone to play in our boutique store at Unit 1 of Queens Parade.

Jemma is a very talented flautist who won a number of reputable awards and we are delighted to have such a skilled artist in our Gurasu shop.

Joanna May and Maciej Matyjasczuk

The idea for inviting Gemma came from a desire to combine classical music and crystalware so that these two can complement each other. For me both crystalware and classical music connect people in a very special way. We don’t listen to classical music and we don’t drink champagne from a crystal glass every day. However, when we do, they make us feel happy, inspired and uplifted. It affects our mood in all kinds of infinite ways and creates unforgettable moments.

We very much would like to welcome you at 4.30pm with a recital by Jemma Freestone over a glass of champagne – in crystal glass, of course.

Love

Joanna May

Founder & Creative Director

Outdoor crystal tableware – alfresco outdoor dining

From open air courtyards to rooftops and somehow cosy gardens to small balconies, we just really, really like to dine and hang out outdoors whenever the opportunity presents itself. So spring and summer are two seasons that are near and dear to our hearts.

 

Luxurious outdoor dining table

 


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Patterned wine glasses – a history

The earliest examples of the modern style patterned glass (also known as “pressed glass” or “pattern glass”) come from the United States at around 1850. These items were cheaply manufactured and made from patterns which were widely available to hundreds of manufacturers and these items were very popular with the masses. In fact, by the early part of the 20th century, these glass items became known as “depression glass” showing the simplicity and inexpensive nature they had.

Frantisek Vizner Crystal Large Bowl


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Dad’s don’t fit into boxes, but we know what does

What is a Dad? Is he someone who goes out to work and brings home the bacon? Does he like to play sports or just sit on the couch and watch it? Is he someone who heads to the pub or has a few beers at home? Maybe he is the person you turn to when you need good advice or the man who you hold up as an example for all the men in your life. Your Dad is just that – your Dad. He is who he is and he can’t be defined.

Birds of Paradise Crystal Red Wine

Birds of Paradise Crystal Red Wine Crystal Goblets, set of 6


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