Giving traditional ceramics a modern twist, Nærvær has created a sure-fire hit

Giving traditional ceramics a modern twist, Nærvær has created a sure-fire hit

Copenhagen’s narrow streets are filled elbow-to-elbow with design-orientated new restaurants. Big-hitters like the Snøhetta-designed Barr, Frederik Bille Brahe’s Apollo Kantine, a revamped Les Trois Cochons, and Norm Architects’ Nærvær all opened this summer. In the name of healthy competition, each is looking for directional ways to stand out.

Norm Architects, along with Nærvær’s head chef Yves Le Lay, sought the help of local ceramicist Maj-Brit Würtz to create an exclusive line of handmade pottery on which his dishes are served. Celebrating imperfections, the collection was designed to feel ‘alive’ and ‘expressive’, reflecting Le Lay’s informal menu of sharing bowls, small plates and rustic salads.

Nærvær vessels, by Maj-Brit Würtz. Photography: Norm Architects

‘The ceramics help take the food to a completely different level visually,’ Le Lay says. ‘During the design process, I often had distinct courses in mind which needed a very specific serving solution. There is something really beautiful about how the two noble forms of craftsmanship – cooking and pottery – meet.’

Würtz stepped up to the plate (so to speak), with a handmade range of simple plates, bowls and vessels, with rounded edges to evoke warmth and homeliness. A hue cycle of earth tones – from speckled-greys to jade – are plucked straight from the nearby Danish countryside, and compliment the locally-sourced larder.

With an expertise in natural, handcrafted pottery, Würtz is ‘interested in the symbolism associated with the meal,’ and easy sharing was essential. These are bowls to be passed around without fear of breakage, even after a glass or two of Skæresøgård Vin. ‘Presence between people is one of the gifts that a meal can bestow,’ she says. This is service with a style.

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