Blenko has been working with designers as a central part of its operation since 1947. It’s a practice born out of European hand glass factories that dates back to the industrial revolution. When Bayliss designed for Blenko, he took part in a special back and forth between designer and artisan. Loving the challenge of stretching the glassmakers’ abilities, he challenged them to develop new skills for new designs, but he also had to consider some practical limitations such as the historical identity of the company. He wanted every design to be new but also unmistakeably “Blenko!” Many times the desired shapes required the ingenuity of the mold maker, or the experience of gaffer or blower to figure out how to produce a design. These masters, and all the other workers at the factory, Bayliss often describes as his “heroes”. He says he calls them this because they have dedicated their lives to making beautiful objects together, and that’s an honorable and exemplary way to live.
For more than ten years Bayliss was an artist and designer for Rosenthal Studio-Line in Germany. Based on and born out of the Bauhaus, this company developed and promoted all it’s products as the pinnacle of contemporary design. Other artists include Walter Gropius, Raymond Loewy, Salvador Dali and Vico Magistretti. Bayliss describes working as a young upstart, in the company of such greats at a place where thinking about good design was at the heart of everything, as a formative privilege. “When Henk Staal, design director first saw my work At the Royal College of Art and invited me to “come and play” for a week, I knew it was the start of something special”. The company produced almost forty Bayliss designs between 1980 and 1990. Several continued in production until 2004.