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Sia Mai Practically Glass

Taking her cue from the old principle of using glass containers for housekeeping, Sia Mai wants to update the idea of food in glass and transform it into a modern concept and a design that has its natural place in contemporary kitchens.


When Sia Mai is developing a product, she works with clay or plaster moulds, as this lets her draft ideas and dimensions quickly and freely directly in glass. A consistent characteristic of her products is the way shapes fit into each other, another is their surprising multi-functionality. Sia Mai often uses her work to explore different types of glass containers used for storing food and beverages. In her works, she seeks to turn our daily meals into an inspirational sensory experience.

Drinking glass manufactured from thin glass. The glass was made by blowing into an imprint in wet clay. Since then Sia Mai has worked her way towards a pattern which she has created in a mould for mould-blowing. The glass is relatively thin, which condenses the color, making it seem visible almost only at the rim and in the lens on the side of the glass. This gives the product an element of lightness and elegance, which Sia Mai seeks in a drinking glass for use at everyday meals.

Sia Mai's lunch boxes consist of two serving bowls in glass held together with an elastic band. The shape of the lunch boxes is inspired by the classic Trangia storm cookers. With this underlying reference, they encourage contemporary urbanites to stage a picnic in the living room and highlight the way everyday life has changed by reinterpreting the popular icon of the lunch box.

With their shape, the bowls offer a range of possibilities for serving and arranging food. The indentations in the middle keep the cutlery in place during transport and keep it from sliding off the edge when the tray is half-empty. Sia Mai?s lunch boxes offer a humorous comment on our modern lifestyle, which has changed so drastically since the days of the traditional lunch box. The new lunch box comes in the form of beautiful and appealing bowls for serving and storage. The bowls are multifunctional but also insist on playful experimentation with the meal and on drawing attention to our modern-day relationship to food.

Sia Mai graduated from Danmarks Designskole, line of One-off Designs and Glass, in 1994. Sia Mai's numerous exhibitions include "Glas 2008" at Holmegaard, the Biennale for Craft and Design 2007, and the International Crafts Biennale 2003 in Korea. Her work has won her several grants, including the working grant from the Danish Arts Foundation in 2002 and the award from Danmarks Nationalbank's Anniversary Foundation in 1995, 1996, 1998, 2002 and 2007. Additionally, some of Sia Mai's works are represented at Glasmuseum Ebeltoft.

Sia Mai has participated in a number of Danish Crafts' Crafts Collections ( 6, 12 & 13), including CC+ for MoMA in 2006, which featured several of her works.

Text from Danish Crafts

Fotos: Ole Akhøj, Ole Victor und craft2eu