Mono 4T Exhibition - the final exhibition of the Mono Residency

At the beginning of 2023, ten young designers visited the Mono manufactory in Mettmann. They followed the invitation to the first "Mono Residency" - a project initiated by Mono in collaboration with German Design Graduates

At the start of the project, the participating designers - a 10-person selection of the graduates from 2018-2022 - were able to gain insights into the production of the manufactory and received the briefing for the project: On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Mono teapot, designed by Tassilo von Grolman, the young designers are asked to develop their own and completely new art and design objects that take up the materiality and typology of the Mono teapot.

The process

In the weeks following the kick-off, the participants developed their initial approaches and ideas. The 6th generation of the family business Johannes (creative direction) and Matthias Seibel (production management) were in constant exchange with the young designers in order to optimize the development and production processes in close cooperation. For the execution of the individual design projects, the graduates were provided with materials and individual parts of the Mono tea portfolio in the required quantities as needed. 
 The design ideas developed, which sometimes required specialized production techniques, were implemented by the "residencies" at the highest professional level, partly in their own studios and workshops and partly with the help of external specialists. On April 20 and after a final review, the ten finished objects arrived at the Mono manufactory.

The result

Ten art and design objects, creative one-offs that take up the materiality and typology of the Mono teapot and stand for themselves through their originality and strong aesthetics. See for yourself.

"Cheers" by Claire Wildenhues

The transformation of Mono tea cups into sparkling wine glasses. Like young twigs, twisted wires entwine around the elongated glass vessels and find curious ways. While the Mono teapot has been made unchanged in form for four decades, no two of these glasses are alike. Each one represents an individual path. Together they toast to their diversity: Cheers!

"Chubby Tea" by Elena Kayser

Familiar symbol of a birthday ceremony. Balloons are the epitome of festivity. Inspired by this symbolism, the otherwise delicate frame of the Mono Filio teapot looks as if it has been inflated here. Only the volume of the frame is increased, while the shape and curves remain unchanged. The object’s appearance is reminiscent of the balloon art known from fairs or birthdays. Not nearly as ephemeral as its distantly related balloon animals, Chubby Tea is a very special one-of-a-kind piece.

"Bloom" by Julian Ribler

A bouquet of unique flowers. Inspired by the idea of highlighting the components of the Mono Tea series, which usually serve as discreet but essential assistants, Bloom invites these helpers to celebrate together. The combination of strainer trays and teapot plates creates a collection of original flowers, each in an individual combination, everlastingly beautiful.

"Klang" by Justus Hilfenhaus

An interactive sound object. The Mono Tea series, which originally focused on the taste experience, finds a new, auditive celebration in this ensemble. Glasses become sound bodies. Filled with water, their different shapes produce matching tones when struck gently. Mallets specially developed for the object (based on the Mono Ring Reedition by designer Mark Braun) invite not only to admire the sculpture, which is reminiscent of a birthday cake, but also to play it.

"Classic Side Tables" by Marie Radke

Mono Classic transformed into a side table. The design language of the first Mono teapot (Classic from 1983) was scaled up to larger dimensions. Central design elements of the teapot standing on the teapot warmer were elegantly transferred in form and materiality into two side tables. While the larger table uses the sieve mesh as a surface, the smaller table integrates the teapot glass as an embedded bowl. The surrounding round plate offers space for wine glasses, coffee mugs and, of course, teacups.

"Dots" by Matthias Gschwendtner

An icon in a colorful confetti dress. Borosilicate glass is a material widly used in “lampworking” - a traditional technique of glass manufacturing. The advantages of this material, with its exceptional properties, also finds its use in the Mono tea family. Dots, on the other hand, uses those qualities of the special glass in a different way. Colored glass dots with the same material properties are carefully melted and applied to the Mono glasses with a blowtorch. The combination of this handcrafted finish with the industrially manufactured product transforms this Mono teapot into an artful one-of-a-kind piece.

"Monosilien" by Paula Mühlena

A set of cutlery for the garden. The initial product of the Mono brand is cutlery. Inspired by their tool character, Monosilien explore a new context by using Mono Tea elements. The result is an assembly of original utensils for the garden. All four tools contain characteristic design components of Mono Tea products and convincingly demonstrate their universality.

"TL40" by Sascha Huth

A modular light system. All too often tea lights are diverted from their intended purpose. A similar approach is taken by the TL40 lamp, which brings together Mono Tea elements in a new function. The LED enclosed in the lid is slightly dimmed in its brightness by the sieve enclosing it, thus creating a pleasant lighting atmosphere. The placed-on illuminated sphere can be flexibly tilted. In addition, the light intensity can be regulated by an integrated touch sensor. Thanks to a rechargeable battery with USB connection TL40 brings cozy (tea) atmosphere indoors and outdoors.

"Feuerwerksspieler" by Silvio Rebholz

Pyrotechnics in a glass. The Feuerwerkspieler enables choreographed fireworks. Enclosed by seven Mono Tea glass containers, small, controlled fountains are ignited in a coordinated sequence. A birthday firework specially designed for “40 years of Mono Tea” suitable for indoor use and without fine dust pollution.

"Aqua Park" von BNAG (Oliver Boualam & Lukas Marstaller)

A water play in endless loop. Aqua Park celebrates the joy of rippling water. An eternal river cascades down a staircase of 6 Mono teapots, attached to a wooden structure. Arriving at the last stage, a pump pushes the water back up through a tube so the fun can start all over again. The meditative experience has a similarly calming yet revitalizing effect as a freshly brewed cup of Japanese Sencha.

The exhibition

The results of the "Mono Residency" were to be presented to the public as part of an event - the Mono 4T Exhibition. Lobe Block, a brutalist monumental building in the heart of Berlin-Wedding, served as the venue for the event. 

 On July 5, 2023, numerous guests gathered there to witness the completion of the project and thus the first-time presentation of the ten diverse design objects live. Together with the graduates, around 400 art and design enthusiasts from young to old, from Berlin and beyond, from students to lecturers to well-known faces from the creative scene celebrated the creative individual pieces and thus the 40th birthday of a design icon in beautiful summer weather. 

 Tassilo von Grolman, guest of honor at the event and forefather of Mono teapot design, puts it in a nutshell: "I am impressed by so much irrepressible ambition, creative spirit and creative power of a new generation. Keep up the good work!"

Mono 4T Exhibition goes Vienna

The journey continued. In September 2023, the Mono 4T Exhibition was exhibited as part of the Vienna Design Week. In the chapel of a former hotel in the basement of the festival headquarters, the ten art and design objects were once again on display on 120 square meters. As part of the Design Week, Mono also invited visitors to a special talk. Under the title "Being a designer - yesterday, today and tomorrow" three generations of designers (Mikaela Dörfel, Mark Braun, Marie Radke and Silvio Rebholz) talked about their jobs. The talk was moderated by journalist Valerie Präkelt.

Picture credits

Mono Residency Kick-off at the Mono manufactory photographed by Fabian Frinzel

Studio photos of the ten art and design objects by Nadia Morozewicz

Mono 4T Exhibition at Lobe Block photographed by Sven Serkis

Mono 4T Exhibition at Vienna Design Week photographed by 
Theresa Schadenhofer