Making collaboration work for you

 Ceramicist Marloe Morgan founded her design and ceramic studio with a vision to create unique and stunning pieces including platters, plates, bowls and more. She soon realised she could expand her development by working collaboratively with the very people who were buying and using her work – primarily, restaurateurs.

Today, Morgan (and the business) thrive off the conception, development and creation of ceramics driven by collaboration.

One successful recent partnership was with restaurateur Simon Gloftis, of the Gold Coast’s Hellenika Greek Eatery. They share what made the collaboration deliver beyond expectations.

Bringing visions to life: Marloe Morgan’s story

“My interest in food and design has always been prominent in all of my past endeavours. I have a background in hospitality and fashion and was pulled to open a design and ceramic studio in 2014, and Marloe Marloe was born.

We have been designing and producing for restaurants, hotels and the wider hospitality community for almost four years now. We are one of the only design and ceramic houses that offer product design and development services as well as custom batch through to large scale hospitality grade production. No job is too big or small for Marloe Marloe and this gives us our edge. I am passionate about food, wine, and design and I would love to be known for my contribution to the evolving Australian food culture and the role the ceramic industry is playing.

We have a long list of Australian chefs and restaurateurs we are dying to work with. We [already] work closely with a number of high profile chefs to develop short run bespoke plateware, designed specifically to complement and showcase seasonal menus. Product development is one of my great passions and I love to work on new and challenging projects. Custom projects [and collaboration] keeps me excited and inspired about design and production.

We have recently moved into the design and development sector, where we offer product development through to sample. This has been great for us and we are so excited to be able to work with larger businesses and a broaden our reach.

Most recently, we collaborated with restaurateur Simon Gloftis for Hellenika Greek Eatery on the Gold Coast. Simon wanted plates that no other establishment had on their tables for his restaurant re-opening and we were thrilled to work with him to help bring that vision to life.

He came into our studio one afternoon and we casually discussed his vision and what he was looking to create. We communicated well and had a great understanding of how the other person's minds worked and that was definitely an asset. From there, we played around with different shapes, depths and dimensions while taking into consideration the menu and how the food would be plated. A few meetings later, we had developed the shapes and specific design details, then it was full steam ahead.

When it comes to functional ceramics, the design should always be based on the function before form. How the pieces will be used and the limitations are the starting point of the process and our design solutions grow from [that]. In this case, we were led by the menu and how the dishes were going to be plated, the glaze colour and the finishing touches followed.

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We chose to design three bowls that would showcase all of the dishes on the new menu. It was definitely important for the bowls to be an eye-catching feature of the restaurant but more importantly, they needed to allow to food to pop, not distract from the produce.

We specialise in custom development, so we are always challenged by each and every job we work on. I feel I grow as a designer and business owner with every new project. In this case, I definitely felt pushed to create pieces that Simon would be proud of. It was important that I delivered to his expectation. I was definitely across every detail to ensure we delivered on time for the restaurant re-opening.
I am really proud of this collaboration and to see the pieces in service on opening night was an amazing feeling and so inspiring. We were able to create a product that will stand up in a busy kitchen, Simon is happy with the outcome and I am also. To me, that is a successful outcome.

Simon and I are now working together on a new collaboration which I am really excited about. My business has grown so much and opportunities like this one help to push my skills and business development further. There's nothing like working with someone in a different and inspiring way to make you come up with fresh ideas. Marloe Marloe is now working with even bigger companies in creation and development - so I am certainly a fan of collaborating to achieve a happy outcome.”

Quality comes first: Simon Gloftis’ story

“I started in hospitality when I was 14 and forgot to stop, I suppose. Hellenika – and I’d like to think, all my previous venues - have all made an impact and tried to push the boundaries of the norm.

Like with everything I do, it's all about the quality first and there is obviously a high skill level on display with Marloe. She cares about her product, and when someone has that thinking, it puts your mind at ease that the product will be delivered with exceptional care.

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Marloe and I have a great relationship … It was really a collaboration however, I am a little pedantic. Luckily, we know each other well so I feel that Marloe sort of knew what I wanted. I loved every moment of [us working together] and it's easy for me to measure the value of the collaboration as the comments from my customer base have been that it is an overwhelming success.

I would definitely collaborate with her again and in fact, work has already begun. I just can't wait to see the new collaboration come to fruition.”

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