Pia Maria Raeder is not just an artist. She is a woman able to give up a brilliant broadcast career to devote herself to a passion. In 2014 she left her live-show and started over. Working as an apprentice she learns to experiment with different shapes and materials. In her garage she assembles and breaks down, she gives shape to always different ideas and decides that her life will be dedicated to creating new things out of nothing.

Pia Maria Raeder

The Sea Anemone Collection

She needs more than 400 hours of work and 29,000 beech rods, patiently cut, smoothed and lacquered to bring the Sea Anemones collection to life. A set of three tables and two sculptures handcrafted and inspired by the marine world.

She admits to finding the challenge exciting and constantly wanting to overcome herself. Folding a rigid material like wood into sinuous shapes requires ingenuity. Pia Maria works using using a kind of optical illusion. Placing the beech rods at different heights, she recreates the movement of the waves. The smoothing and cutting of the wood does the rest, giving the impression of an extremely flexible material.

A piece from the Sea Anemone collection

Natural materials and colors

The wood, freed from its natural limits, proves to be an amazing material, capable of giving life to extremely dynamic pieces of furniture. Nature explodes with all its explosive force in the different furnishings, in which functionality and poetry blend.

Pia Maria does not forget, in fact, that each piece must be first and foremost useful and not only beautiful. So much so that the Sea Anemones collection has been enriched with two mirrors, wall and freestanding ones, a cozy armchair and two floor lamps. The use of fiberglass rods, instead of wood, bring the collection even outdoors, keeping intact its biomorphic appearance and the swaying movement of the shapes.

Talking to Pia Maria

(Q) Hello Pia Maria, tell me about yourself and how you approached design…

(A) After I received my university degree in Political Science, I worked for a long period of time as a TV Journalist focused on social and political topics. Although I loved my job, deep down I felt the desire to create something with my own hands. When my mother died far too early, I realized how quickly life passes by. I took a time off from my broadcast career and started to think…

is there anything else I would like to do with my life other than being a journalist?

In 2014 I finally decided to make a radical change. I began working as an apprentice with a craftsman and soon after that experience I decided that I wanted to spend all of my time creating. I worked for a year in my garage trying out all different sorts of things, materials, shapes until I realized that I would love to create furniture, which resembles the beauty of nature and does not exist yet. In 2016 after having developed my first pieces, I approached Béatrice Saint-Laurent, the owner of Galerie BSL, who exhibited my first pieces: three side tables, two sculptures and a large standing mirror at PAD London in the same year. This was a miracle to me, I could hardly believe it. All I had have every secretly wished for came true. From then on, I started creating piece after piece and the Sea Anemone Collection grew steadily. 

Pia Maria at work

(Q) Is your family happy with your choice?

(A) Yes, they are very happy for me, which really makes me happy too. 

(Q) What inspires you?

(A) The exceptional beauty of nature, nothing comes close to this. I try to express my admiration by creating my own version and interpretation of natures perfection, using mainly organic shapes and materials, like beech wood. I used to live next to a lake. Every day the water showed a different face, like a never ending metamorphosis: sometimes bright, sparkling and soft, sometimes dark, furious and wild. With my work I try to create pieces that are as vibrant, unique and as surprising as nature. 

(Q) The marine world, threatened by man’s neglect, is very present in your works. What message would you like to give through design?

(A) My hope is that people who like my creations will realize how much preciousness is out there and how important it is to treat this gift with the respect and the care it deserves. Not to take it for granted, not to exploit it, but to appreciate what was given to us and to pass this wonder on to the next generation. Without nature, we are nothing. We should treat all sources with awareness and with care. So much has been already destroyed, not only in the ocean. It’s time to stop. 

(Q) If you could meet a world leader, who would you choose and what would you ask? 

(A) I would like to meet each of them, if possible, because radical changes can only happen, if the world society is willing to work together. Like a lot of people as well, I would like to ask why did and is it taking them so long to react to stop climate change. Why do economic choices seem so often more important than saving our planet? Why do those in charge hesitate, how much more proof do you they need to realize that climate change is happing? There is no second chance. The time is now. 

(Q)Your best quality …

(A) I find it really difficult to say something like that about myself. Maybe my ability to be passionate about something I truly love. Once I am fired up, nothing can stop me. This is a especially good for my work as the creation of just one of my pieces with its thousands and thousands of rods requires a huge dose of patience.