Riga, Latvia

Latvia-based an&angel produces beautifully finished tableware that is as sleek as it is functional.

The brand’s designer and creative director, Latvian glass artist Artis Nimanis (b. 1978), established an&angel in November 2004 in partnership with his wife, Agnese Gara-Nimane. The first works arose from Nimanis’s Master's thesis at the Art Academy of Latvia. When he received numerous requests for bowls from friends, he realized the future potential for his designs. For five years, the company established itself in Andrejsala, a former territory of industrial port next to the city center of Riga, before the rise in consumer demand encouraged its founders to move into the center of the city. Originally planned as a closed exhibition space, it expanded into a showroom filled with bowls and vases, offered in multiple colors and finishes.

Process is central to the appearance of an&angel’s tableware. Each item is precisely hand-blown with three to five layers of glass fused into one, ensuring the highest quality standards throughout each layer. This special technique allows the light to spread evenly across the glass and provides the objects with their distinct shine and style. The subtle mirror effect across the curved surface is a result of titanium or stainless steel coating—a technique in which metal is transformed into a fog. The glass is food-friendly and does not oxidize.

That Nimanis has a separate fine art practice—he has exhibited at Galería Ethra in Mexico City (2016) and at the Bornholm Museum, Denmark (2018), as well as the Latvian Embassy in Washington D.C. (2014)—makes perfect sense, given his fine attention to form and color. His bowls and vases are sleekly geometric, and range from light, fine-edged, and shallow objects to thicker, more rounded, and deeper styles. His palette, too, varies from minimalist monochromes to richly opulent, jewel-like hues, the interior often supplying a sharp contrast to the outer part of the bowl. In some cases throughout the Deco, Moon, and Titan series, the surfaces are plain, but in others—such as the Titan Flat Black Splashed Bowl, they are dashed with lively splatters of color, immediately redolent of mid-20th-century Abstract Expressionist painting.

The an&angel Deco collection is the recipient of the Red Dot Design Award (2013) and the German Design Award (2015). Glass bowls from the Black & White and Northern Lights series have also recently entered the collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art. The design studio’s clients include art galleries, design stores, museum stores, hotels, corporate and private clients, as well as architects. Artis Nimanis was awarded the Kilogram of Culture Award (2016) in the visual arts category for his solo exhibition Fragile at the Museum of Decorative Arts & Design in Riga. His Sun and Moon exhibition will tour to The Finnish Glass Museum in Riihimäki, Finland, at the end of 2018 and to Japan in 2019. He is also responsible, with colleague Gatis Vasiļjevs—as part of his separate brand Glass —for the world’s first functional glass bicycle, acquired by the Shanghai Museum of Glass in 2016.