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The Los Angeles-Based Artist Crafting Brutalist Designs Out of Clay

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I love backwards engineering,” explains Bari Ziperstein, the Los Angeles–based artist. “I’m constantly looking at industrial processes and structures, and how things are made.” Eyeing a strange building or the pylons that hold up the freeway, she’ll wonder: Could I do that in clay?

She’s applied the same working-in-reverse spirit to her business. Ziperstein is, first and foremost, a fine artist. But in 2008 she started making brutalist planters, furniture, and tableware as a side hustle under the name BZippy. It took off, allowing her to resume her art practice. Since 2019, she has also created works of collectible design for The Future Perfect.

In the preproduction department, Ziperstein and her team roll slabs of clay, extrude clay tubes, and create hump molds for the fabrication department.

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It has all now come together under one roof at her new studio and showroom, where she and her team can fabricate the works (hand-built using clay slabs, hump molds, and extrusions, then fired and glazed on-site) between client appointments, order fulfillments, and sketching sessions. The 9,000-square-foot building, furnished by the local design duo Foss Hildreth, merges industrial capabilities with creative flair. The public-facing spaces, open for appointments, are outfitted with vintage gems like Joe Colombo’s plastic Universale chairs and a Mario Bellini sofa. These areas double as laboratories for new products, including forthcoming sconces and kitchen tiles.

Melting plane side table from The Future Perfect.

Joined side table from The Future Perfect.

BZippy Large Diamond Vase. 

For the first time in 10 years, Ziperstein also has her own fine-art studio, where she spent much of last fall prepping for her current solo show at the Vielmetter gallery. To realize the hulking sculptures, she carved intricate patterns inspired by Soviet textiles into the clay, firing and glazing them, paint-by- numbers style. Like many of the brutalist buildings she has long referenced, the Cold War–era textiles were commissioned by the government. “They’re propaganda,” she explains. “I’m interested in thinking about our historical past and how it talks about our current state.” bzippyandcompany.com —Hannah Martin

in Ziperstein’s office, a vintage Vico Magistretti chair pulls up to her son Lawrence’s desk, which is filled with objects by the likes of Wayne Perry, Peter Lange, and Joanna Powell. check out Lawrence’s work at @bzippy_and_son.

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The sales office at Bari Ziperstein’s new showroom/studio designed by Foss Hildreth. 

Works in progress fill the Preproduction Department.

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