Fernando Laposse, a young graduate designer of St Martin's, is exhibiting several of his projects at merci's MATIERES PREMIERES, particularly the Sugar Glass, a glass made from just sugar. It’s a work which combines creativity, technique and materials. Meeting  with Fernando Laposse. Fernando Laposse

How did you have the idea of basing your work on the one material: sugar? One summer, I signed up for a workshop on glass blowing. It was very impressive, and at the same time frustrating, because you hardly work the glass, since it's at over 1,200 degrees while it's being blown and worked. I realised that it is very difficult to learn to work in glass. I tried to find a substitute, which behaved like glass and which would also allow me to work at home. Sugar has proved to be the best solution. To begin with, I wanted to use glass-blowing techniques with sugar. I had good results, but I was aware that it was quite difficult to have defined things, it could leave in one shape, as in another. So my challenge was to create a design object with sugar as the material.  What is the manufacturing process of sugar glass? I combine different techniques, including an industrial technique known as rotomoulding. I've adapted this method with my own moulds. For glass, you start by making a simple caramel by melting sugar: you have to be very careful with the temperature so that it doesn't burn. Then you pour the caramel into the rotating machine, the sugar turns and finally you add the colour. For the underpart, the base of the glass, you use another process, with crystallised sugar. The manufacturing process takes from 35 to 40 minutes in total, with cooling time.   You are putting on a performance while you are making the sugar glass.  What experience do you want to give the public? I prefer to use the term 'demonstration' rather than performance. I feel that in a performance, there is something a bit theatrical, such as the creators of food design do. There is a whole stage set around their work. My work remains a little more discreet: I'm just showing how the product is made. That is beginning to happen a lot in the world of design. During the demonstration, as I have several moulds, I can turn a glass out every ten minutes, so there is always something very visual which engages the public, while at the same time it's showing the value of the product. People ask questions, some are interested in the technique, or the machine. What I enjoy most in the public demonstrations is seeing people's reactions, as they are in the process of having n experience at several levels: visual, taste ...  Your work is a meeting between the worlds of design and food.  Are you interested in the current culinary movement? I really like the culinary movement: I find it very interesting, when it's well done. There is a very fine line between decoration and making designer pieces. My challenge is to make objects which are seen as design and not as food. The fact that I work with materials which can be eaten is secondary. What interests me is having a genuine transformation of the material. With sugar glass, there is a real transformation within the object, you don't really see that it is sugar.  In design, the creative process and the manufacture in the machine takes longer, while in the food movement, things are often improvised, they work with whatever comes to hand.   What are your next projects? The first project, to come in the autumn, is in collaboration with the Experimental Food Society: these are designers who work with food. And I'm in the process of developing a camera which is going to be more or less edible. The body of the camera will be a mixture of semolina and edible resin, with the inside made of squid ink. The idea is to create a system rather like lomography, of being able to interchange the objectives.  My other project is work with glass and light, of changing one object to another, which I'll be following up in 2014.
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