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Miranda Watkins / Miranda Watkins
Miranda Watkins' understanding of materials is key to her working process and contributes to the compelling beauty of these tumblers and cutting board. Each piece is precision engineered in high-grade materials and hand-finished in British workshops.
Torafu Architects and Mikiya Takimoto / Kami No Kousakujo
After finding inspiration in graphic patterns and space shuttles, Japanese practice Torafu Architects and photographer Mikiya Takimoto have turned to the Bauhaus movement to design a new variation of their ‘Airvase’ collection. The delicate flat-packed bowls, which gain strength when expanded and pulled, now feature details of the legendary German design school building.
Photography: Fuminari Yoshitsugu
Studio Lievito / Studio Lievito
Florence-based Studio Lievito has turned the acts of chopping, crumbling and rolling food into a game with this geometric cutting board. The marble sphere crumbles spices, the cylinder is for rolling dough and smashing meat, while the cube can be used to scale fish, and the prism holds a blade for chopping vegetables.
Solomia Zoumaras / Solomia Zoumaras
Zoumaras' work first caught our eye at the Royal College of Art degree show in London. Her work hinges around geometry and symmetry, drawing inspiration from architecture. This tabletop creation makes a sculpture out of the humble egg.
Patricia Urquiola / Baccarat
£2,120 per piece
The Variations Collection of vases by Patricia Urquiola for French crystal manufacturer Baccarat teeter somewhere on the brink between object and sculpture. The stackable forms come in two parts, of varying sizes and colours, which can be mixed and matched to eye-popping effect. Each piece has been richly patterned with pleats and cuts, created using glass-cutting principles.
Giò Ponti / Sambonet
Cutlery, 51 for a four-piece set; tray, 290 for 40cm, 395 for 45cm
Sambonet has revived an asymmetric cutlery collection originally designed by Giò Ponti in 1951. It features shorter prongs and blades to reflect the Italian architect's observations on the way we eat, often just using the tips of cutlery. The distinctive line is matched by a sophisticated tray made of a single sheet of stainless steel.
Corin Mellor / David Mellor
£75 for six piece place setting
Now at the helm of his father's eponymous cutlery and kitchenware company, Corin Mellor has inherited the familial flair for the physics of tools. His new 'Chelsea' set features subtle variations of thickness and satisfying forms that balance perfectly in the hand. It gets its name from the area where David Mellor set up shop in 1969.
Milia Seyppel / My Bauhaus is Better Than Yours
The trouble with many modern edition vases is that sans fleurs, they look a little naked and forlorn on the mantelpiece. What's been lacking is a vase that's not afraid to go commando, which is why we were instantly enamoured when Milia Seyppel's buff ceramic series arrived at Wallpaper* HQ. Made of pigmented stoneware, the vases have a geometric elegance about them, and when grouped together, the resemblance to the silhouette of an industrial factory is striking -- which is appropriate given Seyppel's fondess for the mechanical form. So confident are these vases in their less is more approach that they don't even have a name. Clearly, roses are optional.
Aldo Bakker / Aldo Bakker
It's impossible to pigeon-hole Aldo Bakker. When it comes to the materials he uses for his designs, this young Amsterdam-based designer is that rare breed that is equally at home crafting from copper, wood or glass. We're very much looking forward to the results of his current collaboration with French porcelain manufacturer Sèvres, but judging by Bakker's set of porcelain cup, and jug shaped like an Aztec antique that we spotted at this year's Salone del Mobile, we'll be eating off new table-ware pretty soon. The fact that the set is available in five different colours only makes it all the more covetable.
HermÈs / HermÈs
India has long been a fruitful source of inspiration for HermÈs, and for his latest collection of glasses, artistic director Yves Taralon turned to the former French colony of Chandernagor (present day Chandannagar). The resulting set of clear water glass, wine goblet and tall glass reminds us of ancient Venetian goblets especially in the way the slender ribbed stems flute outwards into a wide rim. Taralon designed the Chandernagor to accompany Bleus d'Ailleurs, HermÈs' new line of tableware. With a table setting this pretty, you'll find any excuse to keep the dinner party going.
+Stone / +Stone
Not to sound like we're stuck in some Renaissance-era time capsule, but it's a real shame that more designers don't craft in stone. Properly worked, this rugged material adds gravitas to any domestic setting. Case in point is this tactile set of tableware collaboration between Portuguese stone specialists Sienave and the UK-based designer Michael Sodeau. Natural stone from Sienave's private quarry in Algarve's Monchique Mountain has been painstakingly cut to form bowls, plates, vases and cups that look equally good on the dining table or as decorative pieces. Unadorned, their simple lines are pleasingly primitive, but the genius in the collection is the pairing of other equally natural materials such as oak and cork to provide interesting soft and hard textures.
Alfredo Haberli / Georg Jensen
As overused as the word 'organic' is, especially in the context of design, it's nevertheless an apt description for the pitcher that the Argentinian-Swiss designer Alfredo Haberli created for Georg Jensen's new Masterpieces collection. Two openings provide the shape of the titular peacock -- the short end, the head, and the taller end, the folded up tail. Or at least, that's how we're seeing it. Either way, the pitcher's polished glossiness is the perfect foil to the other pieces that Haberli designed for the collection, including a glass carafe whose stopper is a wooden spinning top, salad bowls in porcelain and stainless steel, and a charming pair of oak salad servers.
Marcel Sigel Studio / Marcel Sigel Studio
Price on request
The ubiquitous tea-light candle has much to commend it. Its compact form throws off flattering light, and its sensible price point means it's a doddle to give any party an instant louche intimacy. That said, we've never really taken to its cheap metal casing. And neither, it seems, has the Australian London-based industrial designer Marcel Sigel. These statuesque candlesticks have a shallow insert into which a standard tea-light candle is dropped providing instant camouflage of the casing. A disc acts as a back reflector. For now, Sigel, who used to work with Tom Dixon, is only producing the Swoon in small numbers and in pairs of black or white.
Margrethe Odgaard / Danish Crafts
Dining table centerpieces that err on the safe side of posies of flowers and candles can stop a soiree dead in its tracks even before the canapes are served. Happily for us, the Danish textile designer and Rhode Island School of Design alum Margrethe Odgaard has the solution for pulling off a great dinner party every time. What looks like an innocuous stack of triangular-fold napkins pulls out like an origami fan into a three-dimensional table runner. The resulting shape varies in endless permutations depending on how much you unfold the 400cm length of sugar-starched cotton. Available in pink, green and blue, we dare say you'll have the whole table talking and in a good way.
Atelier Polyhedre / Atelier Polyhedre
French ceramicists Baptiste Ymonet and Vincent Jousseaume of Atelier Polyhedre like to imbue their vessels with personalities, which – in the case of their growing Stomachs series – are a hungry bunch. The vases and carafes appear to have swallowed other objects, which stretch their curves and angular outlines, evoking the elasticity of the intestinal wall. This 'Carafe < Funnel' looks like it has gulped down a vase, which distorts the usual symmetry of ceramic turning to pleasingly irreverent effect.
Jacob Marks / Skram
Though you can’t escape the 1970s feel of the material, cork suddenly seems like quite an attractive addition in the home once again, though maybe still not as a flooring surface. These stacking bowls though, made from 100% sustainably harvested, high density cork, are an attractive option. Designed and manufactured in a former cotton mill in North Carolina by Skram’s founder Jacob Marks you can choose to have them black lacquered or plain. For decorative value we’d choose black lacquer, emphasising the 1970s feel of the material with the graphic effect of the ellipses, when stacked.
Thomas Eyck / Aldo Bakker
Thomas Eyck's brilliant salt servers in the shape of spoons do that rare thing in design these days - improve upon function. Rather than dipping your fingers in a little bowl of salt in the middle of the table, these spoons store the salt in their hollow handles so you shake as much as you need into the well and sprinkle over your food instead.
Simone Cagnazzo / Ichendorf Milano
It's certainly true that everything tastes better from quality glassware and if you're on the hunt for an upgrade you couldn't do better than Simone Cagnazzo's Blow range for Ichendorf Milano. The hand blown set is delicate and decorative and more for the dining table than the kitchen cupboard. Wherever you choose to use it though, good taste won't be in question.
Maarten Baas / Skitsch
New Italian brand Skitsch launched at Salone 2009 to much fanfare. Not only did they launch with a vast showroom in the heart of Milan but they'd called upon the great and good, young and old (well, established) of the design world to design their debut collection. Amongst the larger, louder furniture elements was this tea set by Maarten Baas. It has just the right amount of cartoonish charm on which the designer has built his name and is more affordable (and maybe practical) than his much feted smoke and clay series.
Sebastian Jansson /
These handy stainless steel implements perform a multitude of culinary tasks, from spatulas to knives to turners to salad tongs - a neat rethinking of several everyday kitchen tools.
Lijuan Wu / Spin Ceramics
RMB 20 each
Perhaps unsurprisingly china the material was named after the country of its origin. More surprising is that China’ china heritage, until recently, had slipped into a mire of hackneyed reproductions and obvious, gaudy designs aimed at tourists. Spin ceramics was a pioneer in resuscitating the tradition and putting a modern, well, spin, on it. As Creative Director Gary Wang explains, “we decided to go back to basics: pure forms, subtle colours and clear purposes”. Lijuan Wu’s Trapezoid chopstick rests are just that – simple, beautiful and totally practical.
Thea Mehl / Teroforma
Dinner chez Wallpaper is always a rather saucy affair, so it’s important to have the right serving spoons. This condiment set from Teroforma is handcarved from Pennsylvanian hardwoods, and we are assured that no two chutney forks, jam spoons or pate spreaders are exactly the same. Serving up style, with condiments.
Kate Chung / JIA Inc
€50 set of 4
Cutlery might not be a household staple yet in China but that hasn’t prevented JIA inc from designing one of the finest designs we’ve seen for some time. Designed by Kate Chung, they take their form from the brushstrokes of Shou Jing Ti calligraphy, a font created by Emperor Song Hui Zong at the beginning of the 12th century. He probably didn’t envisage his script informing eating utensils but the sweeping handles make for a very tasteful set of cutlery.
RMB 368 pair
These salt and pepper mills are handmade from rosewood and based on the Chinese seal stamps of yore. Though their function is humble enough there’s something rather lofty about their design, perhaps a nod to the more heraldic action of the stamps they’re inspired by. In particular the contrast between the delicate, curved nozzle and rectangular block of the body gets our seal of approval.
Konstantin Grcic / Serafino Zani
If you like your dinner guests green with envy whilst you dish up your salad, you’d be well advised to get a set of Konstantin Grcic’s servers for Serafino Zani. The generous paddle surfaces and weight of the 18/10 stainless steel make for pretty perfect servers and, everyone knows that when it comes to cooking, even if it’s just throwing together a few leaves and tomatoes, a chef’s only as good as their tools.
Miranda Watkins / AR Wentworth
'As a metal more usually used for tankards in taverns, it is high time pewter got an upgrade,' says London-based Miranda Watkins. Elegant but industrial, delicate to look at but robust and heavy to hold, her collection of highly polished grooved vases makes for quite a centrepiece.
Shigeru Ban / When Objects Work
Price awaiting confirmation
Shigeru Ban has scaled down the lattice grid he created for the Centre Pompidou-Metz into a more portable design. Accessibility has always been Ban's forte and he's keen that the design should be affordable as well as beautiful.
French company Adonde’s teapots have rustic charm down to a T. The modular pot is the final element in the 13-strong ‘cylinder’ series, which Adonde began back in 2005 with the aim of exploring as many functions as possible through this single shape. The teapot is a bit of a departure by virtue of having a specific function but such details as a handle and spout don’t stand in the way of the form’s simplicity or modular capacity.
Sam Baron / Bosa
These voluptuous ceramics by French designer Sam Baron are as diverse in their inspiration as they are in their function. Informed by the columns of Palladian villas, architecture in Lisbon and details of Parisian metro stations it’s hardly surprising the collection is so extensive; tables, flowerpots, bowls, candlesticks, vases and lamps, Baron has all options covered. However you choose to use them be sure to group a cluster together for maximum impact.
Henning Koppel / Georg Jensen
Danish silverware company Georg Jensen is celebrating the 90th anniversary of Henning Koppel, one of its greatest designers, by launching a collection of his iconic designs. One that particularly caught our eye was this carving set originally designed in 1971 named 'shark'; no doubt a nod to the sharpness of both utensils' teeth. Designed to slide inside each other, the stainless steel fork and knife are as pared down as the design can be, without scrimping on function. Ergonomic to hold and practical to use, they're as much ornament as they are essential carving equipment.
Hironori Inada / Stitch and Sew
Hirinori Inada is the designer behind this set of four containers and plates. Made from stainless steel and painted in matte resin paint, they have a timeless simplicity that belies the multitude of tasks they can perform. Having established his own company, StitchandSew last year, Inada outlines his mission as "rethinking and redesigning everyday items to make them easier to use." For the Case dishes, Inada set out to explore the boundaries between craft and industrial products, with the intention of designing a range that sits somewhere in between. Stacking inside each other for ease of storage, they're equally appropriate decorative elements as they are functional tableware.
Herbert Krenchel / Normann Copenhagen
£21, servers £11
The Krenit salad bowl is already a classic for those in the know. Designed by Herbert Krenchel in 1953, the bowl, originally enamel, was one of the first of its kind to be seen in Europe after distributor Torben Ørskov spotted a gap in the market for the American way of eating salad. The enamel design dropped off the production line in 1965 but forty years on it's been snapped up by Normann Copenhagen and given a melamine makeover in the process. Our favourite elements are still intact; namely the contrast between the glossy interior and matte exterior, the shallow, concave sweep of the bowl and the elegant Japanese-inspired servers.
Gio Ponti / Christofle
Ponti's timeless 400 flatware cutlery, designed in 1953 for Krupp, in stainless steel, are now being reproduced by Christofle. The cutlery remains eternally cool, and just one reminder of the creative talent that so successfully linked Ponti and Tony Bouilhet, heir and director of Christofle at the time.
This little web-based company located in Norwalk Connecticut can be inspiration for us all. Rather than spend time and resources on building a brand, opening a showroom and printing catalogues, Teroform put all its energy into simply searching for a new generation of designers and hooking them up with the world's finest artisans to create functional and beautiful pieces of tableware. The glassware for example is designed in Scandinavia but hand made by highly skilled glass blowers in the Czech republic. Plus the fact they are made from the environmentally friendly non-lead crystal makes us feel much better when we then throw them in the dishwasher, for which they are robust enough to withstand.
Antigone Acconci and Riccardo Bastiani / A/R Studio
We were a bit confused whether to put this delightful garden-inspired tea set in our dining room or outdoors. Finally we settled for dining on account of the fact that the ceramic material isn't waterproof. However to be honest with a pot and cups as cute as this it, you could serve tea quite happily in any room. The work of Milan-based architects and designers Antingone Acconci and Riccardo Bastiani, who together set up A/R Studio four years ago, this ceramic set has certainly planted a seed of want among us here at Wallpaper* HQ.
Ionna Vautrin and Guillaume Delvigne / Industreal
Price on request
Italian company Industreal may have many designers in its stable, but over the five years since it launched but Guillaume Delvigne and Ionna Vautrin have always stood out for us. Both graduates from France they now work for George J Sowden's studio in Milan. Among past success stories is Delvigne's 'Chapeaux Pour Vase' collection and the 'Lampes' while together they designed the 'Penier Perce' embroidery bowls which have been bestsellers around the world. This latest collection by the duo plays with porcelain and blown coloured glass to create three different centrepieces that can be used either as vases or as storage.
John Pawson / When Objects Work
Inspired by paddles and traditional shamoji rice spoons, the refined detail of these black ebony-hewn servers has us craving our greens.
Daniel Pirsc / Pirsc
Czech porcelain designer Daniel Pirsc's studio may be located within the grounds of a Jewish cemetery but his career is only just coming alive. His studio cum gallery space complete with all the technological equipment needed for manufacturing his own porcelain and pottery designs has been working flat out since it opened in 2005. Distribution for his pieces has now spread across Europe, his work was included in the recent Czech Design: Dreams and Reality exhibition in Brussels and Pirsc is currently working on numerous architectural projects including the soon to open Molo restaurant in Bratislava. These geometric-shaped bowls are set to hit stores in July where we think they'll meet grave approval.
Patrick Frey / Authentics
German stalwarts Authentics recently launched a new range of tableware at Tendence in Frankfurt, which has us feeling the need for an overhaul. PIU is designed by Patrick Frey and, true to its Italian translation, subscribes to the 'less is more' school of thought. The glassware and crockery are minimal and elegant but it’s the thermos flasks that are the standout pieces. Doubling up as a teapot (with a tea strainer insert), the flask has an ergonomic handle and flip-top lid arrangement that means it can be opened and closed with just one hand.
Corin Mellor / David Mellor
When David Mellor was commissioned by the government in 1963 to design a collection of modern tableware for the British embassies around the world little did he know his 'Embassy' collection would become such a design classic. Nearly half a century later, his son Corin Mellor has designed a range of glassware to sit alongside the recently reissued original 'Embassy' collection. The hand blown glasses share the elegance and refinery of their 'Embassy' siblings and we're thrilled to see the reintroduction of the champagne saucer – the traditional vessel for drinking champagne in Britain since 1663.
We thought it only fair to throw open the doors to The W* House and share with you our wealth of experience in the design world. From cutlery to cupboards, pots to plumbing, The W* House features our favourite pieces of design from around the globe, room by room. We'll update them every time we find something new we like, building the collection into an archive for as long as the pieces are for sale. Practicality isn't often a buzzword at the Wallpaper* HQ, but when it comes to sharing our finds we wanted to keep things simple, letting you furnish your house the Wallpaper* way, with the click of a mouse.