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Barro pendant by Peca celebrates Mexico’s pre-Hispanic craftsmanship

Dezeen Showroom: Mexican design studio Peca has created a pendant lamp made from black clay and glass for lighting brand Graypants, which combines ancient craft techniques with a contemporary design language.

The Barro lamp consists of a rippled blown-glass shade and a clay pendant holder, handmade in the workshop of master craftsman Amando Pedro in the town of San Bartolo Coyotepec near Oaxaca.

Photograph of black ceiling lamp Barro made using clay and glass materials
Peca has designed the Barro lamp for Graypants

Pedro is an expert in barro negro pottery, which has been produced in San Bartolo Coyotepec for more than 2,500 years using the naturally black clay found in the region.

“Oaxacan clay, a material that we have been exploring for some time now, provided us with an opportunity to design an object,” Peca said.

“The black clay technique dates back from pre-Hispanic times and tells our people’s story of empirical knowledge, exploring and communicating with nature.”

Rippled glass lampshade next to a black ceramic cylinder
It consists of a ceramic pendant holder and a rippled glass shade

The Barro lamp comes in two variations, featuring a black clay pendant holder with a smoked glass shade or a red clay holder with a clear shade. The two clays are each fired using a different process.

The black version is fired for a longer period of time and kiln vents are temporarily closed to reduce the amount of oxygen in the oven and bring out the deep-black colour of the clay.

The red clay is finished using a shorter firing process, without making use of this oxygen reduction technique.

Photograph of two hands holding the red clay Barro lamp with a wavy transparent glass
The lamp is available in either red or black clay

“When I first met Amando Pedro, I was struck with his vast knowledge of the barro negro craft and his passion for it,” Peca founder Caterina Moretti told Dezeen.

“I was also struck by his eagerness to experiment and innovate, to take his pre-Hispanic craft, to transform and to innovate through his craft in a contemporary setting,” she added. “These common interests set us together on a journey.”

Photograph of a clay craftsmen next to a firing kiln with black clay lamps.
Each piece is handmade in Oaxaca

Barro’s mould-blown glass shade has a subtle rippled texture, designed to highlight the ceramic structure underneath.

“The glass is blown in a workshop in the city of Oaxaca,” Moretti said.

“We tried to have close communication between Amando, the glass-blowing workshop and me, that’s why we picked places that are geographically close together. San Bartolo Coyotepec is just 16 kilometres away from Oaxaca City.”

Barro pendant lamp over an outdoor dining table
The pendant can be hung alone or in multiples

The Barro lamp has been shortlisted in the lightning design category of the 2022 Dezeen Awards.

Other products in the running include pendants made from leftover aluminium profiles by MVRDV and Signals, a family of lights with conical mouthblown glass shades by Barber Osgerby.

Product: Barro
Designer: Peca
Brand: Graypants
Contact: [email protected]

The photography is by Andrés Alejo.

Dezeen Showroom

Dezeen Showroom offers an affordable space for brands to launch new products and showcase their designers and projects to Dezeen’s huge global audience. For more details email [email protected].

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