• The Kiss installation by Glithero at the Tory Burch store in Milan

  • Close-up of The Kiss

  • The store interior

  • Glithero artists Tim Simpson and Sarah van Gameren

  • Margherita Puri Negri

  • Tony Chambers andJames Bradburne

  • Valentina Scambia

  • Virginia Galateri di Genola

  • Will Yates-Johnson

  • David Chipperfield, Tony Chambers and Evelyn Stern

  • Fernanda Casiraghi

  • JJ Martin

Tory Burch teamed up with Wallpaper* magazine and London art duo Glithero — otherwise known as Sarah van Gameren and Tim Simpson — on an installation, The Kiss, at our Milan store inspired by our spongeware collection. Here, van Gameren tells us about the inspiration. And in the slideshow above, take a look at what they created, plus photos from the opening party and guests.

Why spongeware…
We liked it because it has a couple of similarities with the work that we have already done, like our Blueware vases. We are really obsessed by the color blue. So we had already done this research into blue and white ceramics. There is a great tradition in America, in the UK and China, even, where some of the techniques originated. And we liked the technique of spongeware — there is a real strong gesture that is the most pared-down you can possibly make something, and that’s something we really like.

The inspiration behind the installation…
We have a dual-installation — each window tells a slightly different story. One really takes the sponge as a starting point, the material of sponge, and we’ve built a kind of tower of them. It’s kind of like an accumulation of blocks, or stacking of blocks of foam. The other window, we focused on the technique. Whereas the left-hand window is more about the material, the right-hand window we focus much more on the technique of using the sponge against the ceramic. We’ve really magnified the one moment that it’s all about, and it’s the moment the sponge presses against ceramics. We’ve kind of designed a machine around that phenomena. So we’ve created a machine that consists of sixty smaller sponges that you can hold in your hand, and in this case. The machine is actually holding every single sponge and they’re all connected to a “chem-arm” – so an arm that moves forward or backward. It’s pressing sponges against glass, so people at street-level can see exactly what this moment of touch, or moment of impression, is really about.

And the title, The Kiss
It’s the moment when you press the sponge against ceramics. It makes sense in the way that the name highlights one very significant moment — touch. And it’s almost like a kiss against the window!

How Tim and I met…
We met in 2007 at the Royal College of Art. We did a couple of projects where we each worked under our individual names, so we basically helped each other but behind the scenes. We discovered that we could work really well together. We had the same red lines through our work, for example. I was very interested in work that was time-based and Tim was really interested in design from a more cinematic perspective, so we found a way of combining those two ideas. And both of us have an interest in how things are made, so this became a very important part of our working method.

The name Glithero…
It’s Tim’s mother’s maiden name. We wanted something very personal, and Tim’s mom is a bit of a hero in our life. And because it’s not one of our personal names, we felt like it’s also possible for other people to work under that name on our team.

The themes we return to again and again…
The moment that something comes into being, which is really a kind of a moment of genesis — but it also happens in design when the product is made. There is usually one significant moment when an object becomes really what it is. And we think that that moment is way more important than the end product. We tend to present installations or products that are actually more about that moment than they are a desirable end product. That’s where our machines come from, and where our installations come from. We also have product lines that are much more about the products being an artifact of the significant moment.

Next up…
We’re working on a new ceramics, clay project with a more high-tech technique — robotics. And we’re working on a woven rug collection for someone.

Watch an exclusive video from the opening party of The Kiss below.