A cut above: the making of Handmade 2015's prosciutto carving set, by Piero Lissoni and Knindustrie
One would imagine catching and curing a pig requires agility, determination, sturdy footwear and an inevitable abundance of salt. Mercifully, harnessing the expertise of Milanese designer Piero Lissoni and Italian kitchenware specialist Knindustrie to create a prosciutto carving set was a much less arduous task.
Lissoni, with a lifetime’s worth of innovative designs, spanning architecture, interiors, industrial design and graphics, was the perfectly accomplished foil for Francesco Zani’s comparatively fledgling team at Knindustrie. The brand is just four years old, but having already worked with Rodolfo Dordoni and met with the approval of design aficionados, it is an operation in the ascendancy. Together they created this all-important ham carving set, ensuring their nation’s beloved prosciutto crudo was handled with the requisite care and vigilance.
The first bricks on the creative path were fired in a series of meetings, during which the underlying feel of the stand and its accessories was explored well before any drawings were sketched. Lissoni and his colleague Carlo Tamborini were keen for a family of pieces that would interact with one another but also convey an effective and professional functionality.
This quest for efficiency, however, was not an exclusive requirement. The basic enjoyment of a genuinely loved ingredient was placed high on the agenda too, and deeper research unearthed references to the old-fashioned counters of classic butchers and the convivial atmosphere of slicing cold cuts in a traditional Italian inn, as well as the industrial aesthetic of modern mass-production environments.
These various influences are apparent in the choice of materials for the carving set, which combines cool, satin-finished stainless steel with the warmth of Canaletto walnut.
The simple design of a stainless steel structure set within a sturdy chopping board underpinned by steel bands and fastened with socket-head screws was born. The ham shoulder is secured inside an angled pipe, the degree of which enables the shoulder to hover above the walnut board, an uncommon design quirk. An accompanying carving knife, offcut trimmer and serving tongs are inspired by Japanese cutlery.
Confronted with manufacturing the set’s contrasting materials, Zani and his team experimented with the hardness of the metal and the pliability of the wood to find the precise junction where the two would balance to accommodate one another. To target a point of equilibrium using advanced technologies, and without compromising the design, takes patience and skill.
The resulting set is a combination of considered and robust design, ambitious materials and delicate manufacturing processes, all rounded off in a collection as aesthetically sweet as the prosciutto itself.
As originally featured in the August 2015 edition of Wallpaper* (W*197)