Bodo Sperlein

Materials Matter: Silver

Studio, ShopBodo Sperlein

As a dedicated believer in traditional materials, Bodo shared his perspective with silver in Hole & Corner’s Materiality Issue in September. We would like to share some of the quotes from the designer’s view.


It’s the material that speaks volumes for Bodo. When ceramics was professed as old-fashioned, Bodo recognised the importance of his role as a designer: to bring these so-called old fashioned materials to the contemporary consumer. As discussed with Sam Walton, “It’s my duty to fight for techniques that took us 1,000 years to establish”.

When Bodo Sperlein Studio takes on new projects, one of our key approaches is to critically reflect on the voice of the heritage and to safeguard the materials and crafts the brand represents. “Why not combine the clever crafts with new methods and then you can get a completely new scope on the materiality?”, Bodo asks.


As he states to Hole & Corner, “These are the most important materials we’ve got. What you do with it – yes there’s pottery and the rest, but also there’s high-tech applications: for example we would have no mobile phones right now; a lot of scalpels in operating theatres are made from ceramics because they give a better cut than metal: if you look at a metal blade under a microscope it’s far rougher than a ceramic one, which has very smooth molecules.”

Studying silver when working with TANE, Bodo acknowledged multiple layers of the history of the material. Silver, with its antibacterial properties, was historically used for water disinfection in Roman times when silver coins would be used on their wounds to make sure they didn’t get infected.

Bodo shares his enthusiasm about working with this complex and pure material, “It’s not just about thinking, ‘Oh wow, it’s shiny!’ You think, what is the reason for this shininess? Silver has the highest reflective properties of any metal. Why else was real silver used in mirrors in the past?”


"With my Symphony Beaker – people would say, “Do you understand how difficult it’s going to be? It’s going to take ages” If it’s just a sphere, it’s easy to polish, but when you have all those crevices... That’s the sort of challenge I like." - Bodo