Hussein Chalayan brings a sculptural simplicity to tableware with the release of a new dining collection for Karaca. The collection, crafted from ground pearl, encompasses plates and cups that fit together in architecturally inspired forms.

The collection nods to the former Wallpaper* guest editor’s fascination with the relationship between form and function with designs that invite us to engage with the pieces, in much the same way we do with his clothing. This interactive element and sense of engagement with the user is at the heart of the curved pieces, which nest together in sensual formations, bringing a playfulness to the ritual of a meal.

‘I wanted to do a dinner set which would engage the user, and encourage them to use the plates in a more diverse way,’ says Chalayan. ‘I think it’s probably the same with the clothes I make – I make a garment you can wear in various ways, so I thought, how can I apply that to dining?’

Hussein Chalayan tableware for Karaca

Stack of white porcelain tableware by Hussein Chalayan for Karaca

Ground pearl, a delicate and luxurious material, proved challenging to work with, its fragility making some of Chalayan’s original designs impossible. He acknowledges: ‘I couldn’t make everything I wanted with it. Items can’t get too thin or they don’t come out of the mould – there was a lot that had to be re-addressed.’

The pieces, which have been in the works for almost four years, put functionality at the forefront, with considered design details ensuring ease of use. A handle-less cup is engineered to ensure a miniscule gap between its walls, so heat doesn’t pass through and it is comfortable to hold. Plates are in standardised sizes, inviting users to create their own compositions; Chalayan envisions users adding antique pieces to the mix, in much the same way as one would pair a designer’s clothing with vintage finds.

Shot from above, white porcelain tableware by Hussein Chalayan for Karaca

‘When I make the pieces I’m imagining them as a whole, but actually it allows you to combine them with other plates that you already have and I like that idea,’ he says. ‘You can have everything in one hue, one language, or you mix things up, and when you mix things up, everything’s much more personalised and exciting to see.’

For now, pieces stay faithful to the lustrous pearly hue, punctuated occasionally with a hit of black and grey, although, ‘I’d love to have more colourways’, Chalayan says. ‘There are endless visual possibilities and that’s what really excited me – because once you start putting food on them, the whole thing becomes another compositional entity.’ §