A river runs through the creative lives of sisters Sidsel and Ingvild Hemma. Their porcelain and ceramics label Ment is sought out for its clean, minimal lines and hues inspired by the changing colours of the River Lågen near their factory in Fåberg, Norway.
“The river changes with every season,” explains Ingvild Hemma. “When the snow melts, it is a mustardy green; in summer the ice-water turns it turquoise; in autumn, it is dark green.” These contrasts have an immediate visual connection with the bowls, coffee cups and jugs that the sisters design. “We hand-mix the colour tints for the porcelain ourselves. The colours are different, but all go together.”
Ment’s nature-inspired porcelain is largely handmade in Fåberg in a building that once housed Norway’s oldest ski factory. Ingvild and Sidsel collaborate, from the initial designs to mock-up models. There is a witty edge to collections such as Beite, inspired by the tradition of grazing cows on mountain meadows, in which milk-white, hoof-shaped cups and horn-curved jugs are decorated with painted grasses and flies.
Ment’s bespoke colours are mixed with a base of white porcelain and are part-glazed for tactile, textural contrast. The resulting pieces are refined without being stuffy. “We want our things to be used, not put away carefully in a cupboard,” says Ingvild. “With mass-production, a generation has lost the chance to inherit nice things from their parents. We want to make things that people understand as being of quality.” Ment’s small team includes a pastry chef and a jeweller by trade, both perfectionists who bring their individual skills to the delicate hand-finishing of Ment’s creations.
Out of 3,000 exhibitors at Maison et Objet 2018 in Paris, Ment was the sole Norwegian brand, so it is unlikely to remain a style insider’s secret for long, especially as the sisters plan to expand beyond porcelain. “We don’t limit ourselves,” says Ingvild. “We founded Ment to create things we would love to live with.” Inspired by the River Lågen, their ideas are flowing towards a colourful future.