The stunning white porcelain tableware collection by Dutch designer Aldo Bakker caught me eye. His graceful pieces were studied to fulfill a specific function. He likes his pieces to be tactile. Usually, they take their meaning when you hold them in your hands.
I was intrigued by the oil platter. The two surfaces of the oil platter work together. You pour the olive oil on the horizontal dish. You turn it slightly on the side to brush your bread against the vertical dish. You end up with the right amount of oil on your bread piece.
Although I admire the concept, I wonder how effective the oil platter is in a real-life application. How long are you willing to hold the oil platter on your hand? How well the oil stays on the dish when you put it on the table?
More Serving Ware
The salt cellar seems to be the more practical of the entire collection. I imagine it as an elegant way to serve fleur de sel at the table. His water carafe rests on a table on the side instead of standing tall. You need to hold the carafe with your both hands to serve water.
I am curious. Are they are more than conversation pieces? Have any of you seen and use these pieces? If so, how do they perform?
+ Oil Platter by Aldo Bakker $169 USD
+ Salt Cellar $129
+ Water Carafe $229
+ Aldo Bakker’s Web site
The Danish studio Norm created for Menu a luxurious Carving Set and a practical Serving Set. The duo of architects designed four pieces that can be used in many ways. The melamine tray when used in combination with the carving bamboo board, or the porcelain dish and cooling pad delivers handy features.
Simply pop the cooling pad in the freezer in advance. Then, put the cooling pad between the melamine tray and the porcelain dish when you are ready to serve desserts, sushi or any cold dishes. There will be no more mess when you carve the meat thanks to the hole in the middle cross of the bamboo board. The hole allows meat juices to drip down into the tray. The melamine tray can be used as a normal tray to serve drinks. As you can see, these sets are quite versatile and clever.
You can buy the carving set (2 pieces), the cooling serving set (3 pieces) or the 4 pieces together. For the slight difference in price, the 4-piece set is the best buy.
+ Norm’s Carving Set for Menu $125 USD
+ Norm’s Cooling Set for Menu $125
+ Norm’s Hot+Cold Serving Carving Tray Set $158
Kyusu is a traditional Japanese teapot mainly used for brewing green tea. We used these teapots all the time when we were in Japan. They pour very well. Typical features include a side handle and a built-in strainer.
If you want to get yours, you can find them at Lucipia, a Japanese tea shop which operates a few stores in the USA plus an online store. Typically, a kyusu is small. I like the black Komarukyusu.
Sencha tea lovers can opt for the elegant Sawa teapot. This modern version of a Japanese sencha tea pot with an ergonomic handle and thumbprint lid allowing for easy one-handed pouring. Add 4 to 6 Sawa cups and saucers to create a wedding gift that the couple will be happy to use for many years.
Oct. 2nd, 2010 Update: My husband brought me back from San Francisco the stylishly modern SAWA teapot. I love it! It comes with two strainers: a built-in porcelain strainer on the inner edge of spout and a removable strainer for tea leaves. The one-handed pouring system works like a charm.
+ Komarukyusu black $22 USD
+ SAWA Teapot with Strainer $49
+ SAWA Sencha Cup $11
+ SAWA Saucer $13
I usually do not go for astrology items but the fresh and bold illustrations used by French Bull caught my eye. They pop in a right way.
And if you really like the pattern, know French Bull will launch October 15th, 2010 a new bag collection. The same astrology illustrations will be printed on cowhide leather pouches.
+ Astrology mug $14 USD
I like the casual, easy living quality of the hand stenciled pure linen napkins and table runners produced by Emersonmade. They will custom print your choice of 1 to 3 upper case letters in black print.
The couple who runs Emersonmade are fun to watch through the pictures they put on their blog. We can see here posing for a Scrabble photo shot.
+ Print Your Own Initials Table Linens $52 USD for 4
One thing that I like about dinnerware is that their design can be timeless. Take for example, the “Souvenir of Tokyo” dinnerware collection. In 1999, Michael Marriott designed a collection of standard hotel porcelain, with screen printed graphics. If the dinnerware looks great on an after a meal picture, imagine how sleek if can be before.
+ Souvenir of Tokyo at Trico ￥840 to ￥2,100 (approx. $9 to $24)
+ photo: Michael Marriott
When I went to Japan, almost every meal was presented with several condiments served in tiny bowls. But there is no need to eat Japanese food to use the Molecule dish at a dinner or a cocktail party. I saw that the small and medium sizes are both on sale at Merchant4. This handmade bone china server dish is from the Setcast collection that I introduced before.
+ Molecule dish by voonwong & bensonsaw on sale at $48 for the small dish, $56 for the medium
I could not resist the Thomas Paul Sea-Life Melamine dinner plates and side plates when I stopped by Lekker Home last Thursday. It says a lot about how appealing they were nicely displayed on the table since I typically do not buy melamine for eating outside. The only melamine plates I own are the ones on my picnic sets.
I knew that I would stop by Crate & Barrel to buy the contemporary rice bowls and square dishes after Lekker Home. That has something to do with my decision. The Thomas Paul Melamine collections do not include bowls. Look at how the two collections complement each others. It is one of these instances where you fashion a calculated eclectic look.
I opted for the whale server plate (called the Scrimshaw Tray) instead of the turtle tray because an oval tray is more handy to serve a wide variety of dishes. This way, my table would not be too matching. Scrimshaw was an art practiced by sailors on whaling ships out at sea. With his Scrimshaw melamine collection, Thomas Paul recaptured, in his own way, the feeling of this art form.
+ Thomas Paul Sea Life dinner plates $40 USD for 4 assorted plates at Lekker Home
+ Thomas Paul Sea Life side plates $30 for 4 assorted
+ Thomas Paul Scrimshaw Tray $30
The contemporary patterns on these rice bowls are superb. Coordinate them with the dot bowls and the square dishes to create a fun dinnerware set for entertaining. They would work well to serve tapas.
You could use the excuses that it is Father’s Day to buy those for your significant others. The glossy green porcelain enamel charcoal grill has an easy-touch gas ignition and one-step cleaning system with removable ash catcher. And it’s just not no-fuss, it’s cute!
+ Rice bowls $5.95 USD
+ Dot dishes $1.95
+ Square dishes $3.95
+ Weber Green Performer Grill $329.95
My next discovery at SIDIM 2010 is handy for the stylish hostess. Serving food in paper cones is a popular trend these days. The cones are not just for serving French fries, you can use them to serve nuts, popcorns, fresh vegetables or fruits, and ice cream. Still, they are not many reusable cone options available on the consumer market. This is about to change with Cônes by Porcelaines Bousquet.
For serving the food, Porcelaines Bousquet proposes two wood options for communal service and one option fitted for plating. The overall look feels chic without being formal.
How Do You Store Those in your Kitchen?
Hard-paste porcelain is the type that you pass on from one generation to the next. It is quite resist. Her biggest challenge was not perfecting the form. It was how do people will store them at home. For each cone that she produced, she needs a stand to hold the cone while it cools down.When that happens, the join will shrink by up to 15%. Then, she threw away the stand. One day, the solution hit her. Why not use the stand to stack the cones? Brilliant! When you buy 4 Cônes, you get a storage stand.
Perfect Hostess and Wedding Gifts
The price of a Cône is $40 CAD. The shopstick-style wood support is sold at $20. If you buy these, you will be sure that no one bought the same wedding gift than you. Plus, I am sure that the bride and groom will use your gift. You can place your order by phone; they deliver in the United States and across Canada. Or browse the list of Canadian retailers to locate one near you. Louise Bousquest launched her hard-paste porcelain business in 2002. She operates her workshop-boutique in a small town located 45 minutes from Montreal.
+ Cône by Porcelaines Bousquet $40 CAD
+ Locate a Canadian retailer near you
The first stand I visited at the SIDIM 2010 show was Poitras, 13 rue de l’univers. Jean-Claude Poitras presented at SIDIM his brand new collection of table linens, tableware, throws and home accessories. I love what I saw. And judging from the reactions of women visiting his booth, I do not think that I am alone.
This is the latest venture of Jean-Claude Poitras, a prolific designer from Quebec who started his career in the 1970’s as a fashion designer. After dressing women and men, he switched his interest to dressing our home in different ways. As I spoke to him, Poitras pointed out that home design can endure the passage of time and stay fresh. He gave me as an example the first plate he designed, in 1998, if I recalled well. He still enjoy eating in it after all these years.
With his 13 rue de l’univers collection, Jean-Claude Poitras infused a cheerful element to each piece and yet the ensemble carries such a classic elegance. It’s form a whole but every piece has its own character.
The serving spoon that stays on the rim of the bowl is such a clever. I want one. A collection of candles in modern glass containers complete his home collection. He opted for casual chic table linens that are superb. These definitely feel timeless.
The same beautiful colors and textiles that you put on your table are available in throws. My favorite ones are the chevron. If you are invited for a weekend at a cottage, make sure to bring one as a hostess gift. They will love it for cold nights, when they sit next to the fire pit.
The information is not all on his Web site but it should be there shortly. For now, selected retailers in Montreal carry the line. I hope that it will cross our borders. I do not recall the exact price but I know it is accessible. You can find his tableware collection at Les Touilleurs in Outremont, À table tout le monde on St-Paul Street West, Léo Victor (who is also at SIDIM) and Nautique International (located at the marina of the Old-Port).
+ Poitras, 13 rue de l’univers
+ SIDIM 2010 – up to May 29th, 2010