Time to Reflect on Design

Travel Notes from Paris

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Every September, the European home design industry returns from their summer break in August to present the best of their new creations at the International Maison Objet show in Paris.  The market is focused on home decor, interior design, and lifestyle concepts, with a very inspiring combination of innovation and new talent throughout the halls.

Simon, Jay and I traveled across the Atlantic to walk the market, meet with some of our partners,  and find new resources or makers we can potentially work with on products. The show also gives an opportunity to spend time discussing, brainstorming and sketching out our approach to design for the next season.  We debate over what can be integrated into our product categories, what new ideas we can bring into existing collections, and where we could layer on new decor concepts.

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“The market gives you a perspective on what is happening in the world with design, and home furnishings, and we distill what makes sense for our line, whether we are buying or designing”, says Simon.  Maison Objet also gives us a sense of what direction glass is heading in, and in a world with the majority of the glass being machine made, we find we are well differentiated with the ‘hand’ being the core value of what we do. We further defined our design mission while traveling. We monitor what is happening in the market but take a great deal of  inspiration from nature, and we blend that with our humanistic approach to design and making things. To capture the essence of our designs, we use a reductive approach of taking away that which isn’t needed to arrive at refined simplicity. The intent of the designs is to amplify the handmade aspect of our products, resulting in objects that are a joy to live with at home.   

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One takeaway from the show was a growing interest in the handmade with small batch production, and a traceability story about the materials.  We found a few other European glass makers, that Simon truly enjoyed talking with, from building furnaces to raw materials used. Glass has also become quite pervasive, as a material of choice for designers.  

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During the market, all across Paris, the whole city was celebrating ‘Design Week’, with interior design events and companies launching their latest products in their retail outposts. 

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We had the opportunity to meet with our Italian linen partners, Bertozzi, and reviewed several new designs that they worked on with us, and also some new offerings they created.  Their hand block printed patterns are one of Simon’s favorites. While travelling through Morocco Simon discovered Bertozzi linens at one of the hotels he was staying at. When Simon returned from the trip, we pursued the company and since developed a great partnership with them as they have a similar ethos, with the handmade approach to their products.  

New concepts from the trip will appear in our Fall Holiday season of 2020.

Spring Tablescapes

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As days grow longer and dappled sunlight casts its playful shadows through our windows, we set our tables with Burlington Cloud dinnerware and exclusive Watercolor Floral print table linens (napkin, runner, tablecloth).

From Spring holiday tables to Mother’s Day brunch and all the casual family weekend lunches in between, the wavy and organic silhouette of the Burlington dinnerware melds with natural elements for the table, while the versatile floral print linens can be styled with cool or warm toned floral and centerpiece accents*.

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*It should be noted that linen is the ideal sustainable fabric. Far less water and pesticides are used to grow flax, from which linen is woven, and no parts of the flax plant are wasted (also yielding linseed oil, twines and ropes)

The “must have” new hand blown glass star of our Spring tablescape is the Addison Basket. Fill it with eggs or a May Day plant and offer it as a hostess gift, or set multiples down your table for a festive centerpiece. This year we are offering hand carved marble eggs as well, to fill the basket with, or to lay along your tablescape.

Two new light and fanciful elements for the Spring table are Horn Handled flatware and a napkin folded “nest”.  The flatware is crafted in France. The horn pattern (made from acrylic) is hand finished and each piece of the set has a unique and gorgeous design.  We fashioned the napkin “nest” by rolling and coiling our napkin just so, to cradle a marble or real egg .*

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*We’ve used the iconic blue egg from the Araucana chickens, that we hunt down at local markets here in Vermont, but you could paint a wood egg as well.

The finishing glass touches to our Spring table begin with Woodstock tumblers. We love our small tumblers with the rounded silhouettes because they can work as stemless wine tumblers, cocktail glasses, or a simple water glass. This Woodstock (and that of the Apprentice glass) silhouette is fuller, shorter, and more casual, while the elegant Hampton Stemless Tumbler, with its thinner and slightly tapered, taller shape, offers a more refined option.

Our favorite new candlelight option is the Bristol Small Hurricane with its lower profile and angular shape. It brings a modern and fresh element to the table.

As Spring progresses and the peonies blossom, consider adding our new Engraved Floral Addison Vase, engraved with spring blossoms, to your spring table or windowsill. The engraved design adds texture and the tapered opening holds delicate blossoms or greenery alike. It is fast becoming a Spring favorite of our customers.

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For fuller and larger Spring gatherings, consider adding these three customer favorites:

Set the Table: Soft Fusion

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Our glass and dinnerware share the table with a lively floral print and flatware that is elegant and artful. These are some of the ways we bring new and unique styling options forward each season.

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This Spring our “go to” table linen fabric, 100% linen, sets the stage. Whether they are used pressed or left as is for their stonewashed beauty, the brilliantly colored runner and napkins set a luxurious backdrop for our crisp Cavendish dinnerware.  The possibilities are endless, with four plate sizes, three bowls and two mug sizes to choose from. It takes on a new personality when set with the show stopping Vivianna flatware by Georg Jensen. Designed mid-century, by Swedish jewelry designer Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe, the flatware adorns the table much like a piece of jewelry, adding a captivating element with its beautiful curves.

 

Pairing well with the Vivianna flatware, is our Hampton stemware. It is the most delicate of our hand blown stemware, and includes the newly launched Stemless Wine Tumbler (its end use versatile), shown here alongside the Red Wine Glass. Hampton’s design is classic, yet what sets it apart is its thin, fire polished opening, sure to enhance the wine tasting experience.

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Cast a final spell of Spring over the table with stems of the airy Jasmine plant or a row of Simon Pearce bud vases. Either will lure your guests closer to the new season.

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