Picnics, in all their laid-back languor, should be effortless, or at least give the appearance of being so. With good food that you haven’t had to prepare yourself, a comfortable spot and chic tableware, you can’t go far wrong. So kick back, relax and learn how to host the perfect picnic.

The cutlery

Dark knives and forks next to a small case

For on-the-go dining, Pentatonic (long-time proponent of circular economies) has sought an environmentally friendly alternative to disposable cutlery that is both portable and hygienic. The design and technology company has partnered Pharrell William’s I am Other entrepreneurial collective on the ‘Pebble by Otherware’, a dining kit that clips onto your bag. It comprises a fork, knife, spoon, straw and chopsticks that fold away into a neat and easily portable pebble shape, providing ‘peace of mind in regards to personal hygiene’, says Pentatonic.

After debuting a colourful kit for the project’s launch in 2020, the collective has now created a grey version with New York-based studio Snarkitecture. The designers chose a shade they dubbed ‘triple-grey’, which results in an identical finish across multiple materials. ‘We can all benefit by using things more than once, especially when it comes to single-use plastics like cutlery and straws,’ says Snarkitecture co-founder Alex Mustonen. ‘We love the idea of making more by using less, and by creating our version of the Pebble with 100 per cent recycled materials we are excited to do just that – while being able to eat our cake with it too.’ 

The picnic blanket

Tekla picnic blanket folded up in green and purple

For soft and durable blankets in understated hues, you can’t beat Tekla, which makes comfort a priority in all its textile products. The fine merino blanket in green and lavender will make a chic and cosy backdrop for a gourmet spread. 

The tableware

Colourful plates and cutlery on a colourful mat

‘My first homeware collection is a continuation of design work inspired by my own British-Nigerian heritage and childhood,’ says artist Yinka Ilori. His work has traditionally been developed as a ‘colourful celebration of two cultures, expressed through abstract, technicolour pattern and contemporary craft’, and this new venture seamlessly follows this path.

Ilori selected a small range of functional household items that evoke memories from his own upbringing and reworked them with bold patterns: think enamel cups, printed placemats, plates and pillows, as well as TV dinner-ready trays and carefully crafted rugs and tablecloths. Each item, he explains, has its own story, ‘meant to instil a sense of optimism and joy, to act in their own small way as a distraction from the dark times that we’re facing this year’. 

The nibbles

box with three loaves of bread in it

Before you crack on with the main event, soak up some of the al fresco booze with gourmet nibbles. Keep it simple – vegetable crudités, dips, good bread, olive oil and salt will lend a Mediterranean elegance without any fuss. Good in Bread, the sourdough subscription service, delivers buns fresh out the oven by bicycle to a London address, making them the perfect addition to a picnic basket for lucky locals. 

The food

Two picnic spreads from st John’s with meats and cheeses

London’s St John serves up two types of premade picnic boxes, filled with a selection of savoury bites, crispy sourdoughs with meaty spreads, and a rich bit of dessert. Designed to be shared between two people, the baskets are filled with straightforward, delicious fare, such as smoked mackerel paté and asparagus with lardo. Londoners can pre-order the baskets from St John’s store for pick-up at the restaurant’s Spitalfields location, while those outside the English capital can find inspiration in St John’s menus to create their own picnic perfection. 

New Yorkers can’t go wrong ordering from Daily Provisions, the all-day café of restaurateur Danny Meyer, designed by the Rockwell Group. From morning coffee and freshly baked treats to made-to-order sandwiches, rotisserie chicken and seasonal side dishes served in the afternoon and evening, your order will be packaged in white cardboard boxes for collection or delivery. For an evening picnic, recommends Wallpaper* contributing editor Tilly Macalister-Smith, ‘they do a great “family-style chicken dinner” with half a roast chicken, perfect fingerling potatoes, wheatberry salad and Caesar salad’. Locations are in Union Square and the Upper West Side.

The lighting

Selection of smoked glass rechargble lamps

The great thing about a summer picnic is that there is no need to pack up and go home as dusk descends. Add extra ambience as day turns to night thanks to Italian designer Luca Nichetto, who has created this series of doll-like portable lamps for Lodes.

With a combination of jewel tones and smoked glass concealing the light source, the rechargeable lamps are playful and practical. Lightweight and dimmable, Nichetto’s characterful designs will bring a special touch to your picnic.

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