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 blending 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 are 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.

Live Simply

 

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There is a change in the air that heralds the coming of Fall. It is a transitional feeling, where the long heat filled days of summer give way to earlier sunsets and brisker mornings. We settle into rhythms back at home as summer’s adventures begin to wane. For this transitional time period we’ve paired patterned glassware, reminiscent of summer’s waves, with hand painted linens and warm wood accents for simple casual dining. Take it outside while you still can!

Andrew Pearce’s warm cherry wood bowls and plates are a great way to change up outdoor dining. They are unbreakable,  sustainable, and their oil sealed surfaces can hold any food you serve. Just stack them up and clean them gently at the end of the meal. We have some beautiful wood chargers and teak handled flatware to complete the layered setting of warm woods. The chargers are particularly beautiful in that the maker discovered a way to cure them without cracking. 

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The hand painted linens we feature are a recent discovery of Simon’s. He was drawn to the intention of these makers and the authentic beauty of their product.

Bertozzi Linens is an established family run business in Northern Italy, where solar power and other sustainable practices drive their business. Since 1920, the company has hand-carved thousands of peartree wooden block stamps. Their linens are then hand painted with proprietary dyes based on natural indigo based ingredients, and they use a unique process to steam these dyes into the linen fibers, which lends a superior product with vibrant hues that are resistant to fading. All their linen is certified from Europe, field to fabric and their production is Oeko Tex Certified.

Links to the Simon Pearce website for Bertozzi napkin and runner.

The Waterbury glass collection in this outdoor setting consists of a carafe, and small tumbler, and we introduce for the first time, a tall tumbler to complete the set. Add a glowing Waterbury hurricane to the table as your guests linger past sunset. Each piece is unique with its hand wrapped waves, swirled and then heated for a permanent wavy texture.

A final touch to our early Fall soiree is our collection of hand blown glass pumpkins. We have added an artistic flare to them this season, creating curly glass stems, each one unique, so you can choose from our glass patch of pumpkins, much as you would in the pumpkin field. 

The glass pumpkin can be found in small, medium, and large sizes. The velvet pumpkins can be found in salmon (small, medium, large), maize (medium and large), and graphite (medium and large) colors.

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:

Elegant Designs & Enduring Connections

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From Left to Right: Jay Benson, James Lawless, Corin Mellor, & Simon Pearce

On a cool November day, we were pleased to host Corin Mellor and James Lawless, from the David Mellor company.  They made the trip from England, driving up from Boston, to visit our flagship Mill in Quechee to provide some product background about their flatware, and reconnect over lunch with Simon.  Corin is the son of master metalworker, designer & retailer David Mellor. Today, Corin carries on the tradition started by his father as the creative director, and leads the company’s design efforts with new creations, and curation of what they sell in their stores.  Corin, and James Lawless (sales manager), had lunch with Simon and Jay, to hear stories from Simon, of the enduring connection between David Mellor and Simon.  Both went to the Royal College of Art, and both had the same interest in functional and beautiful design. When David Mellor opened his first shop on Sloane Square in London, it was a destination for design and offered Simon’s glasses that he produced in Ireland.  With their connection, Simon also carried David Mellor flatware in his shop. Simon’s penchant for making glass was an influence on David, and they both were part of a maker’s movement that was happening, at the time.

 

David Mellor was from Sheffield, which was a center for flatware and metal work.  He was first trained as a silversmith, and specialized in metalwork but also designed beyond flatware, pursuing a variety of industrial design opportunities such as home accessories and even street furniture. He was a pioneer of modern design in England, and is famous for his flatware which won numerous design awards with Pride being one of the most highly regarded patterns.

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Paris 5-Piece Flatware Setting

The Paris pattern was created in 1993, and originally intended for the The Silver Trust in England, it is now a highly popular design for us, and has an incredible finish.

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Pride 5-Piece Flatware Setting

Pride is a modern classic and yet has some design cues that originate from Georgian proportioning; a very similar origin to the classic influences on Simon’s first glass designs.  Pride was designed in 1953, and was first created in silver with a bone handle for the knife, but was later redesigned in stainless steel. This beautiful flatware set exudes all the hallmarks of elegant design, with simplicity as the primary characteristic.  Corin explained the progression of making the flatware and how the buffing and finishing requires many steps.

 

The philosophy behind the Pride pattern is synonymous with what we stand for at Simon Pearce. The flatware pattern compliments the timeless quality of our glassware and dinnerware, and has been with us for decades. While style and tastes come and go, these designs stand the test of time.

Harvest Gatherings

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The warm hues of turning leaves are made vibrant by the fading light of Fall and inspire the way we mix glass, pottery and textiles on our harvest tables.  The tone is set with plentiful candlelight and we layer pottery in shades of slate, dove and grey marble for that “Equinox” feel. The mood is rich and the feel is casual.

The place settings are grounded with our natural weave Nettle runner and NEW matte slate glazed Cavendish dinner plates. Layered on top are glossy Cavendish side plates in the dove white glaze and Andrew Pearce 7” Cherry Live Edge Salad Bowls.

To balance the feel, we set each place with a Hampton Stemless Tumbler, a modern take on our refined Hampton stemware and Georg Jensen Copenhagen flatware, with its weightless feel.

Custom designed linens in a golden hue of a cotton/linen mix are printed with Fall chestnuts & are gathered with a Simon Pearce glass napkin ring.

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Where there were once three, now there are six heights of our iconic Hartland candlestick. We’ve added three heights in a NEW stemmed design. You can stop here or you can bring in our NEW pineapple candlestick to create a lively mix along the table. The pineapple, a symbol of hospitality, has become a top seller.

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In between Fall gatherings, the high contrast mix of pottery is a natural for the everyday table, made special with the whimsy of the grey marble, which you can collect in place settings, tiny tapas plates or gorgeous show stopping platters and serving bowls.

Let the final embellishment of your table be a Simon Pearce glass Pumpkin. Like our evergreens, they can be collected to create a pumpkin patch for the table or mantle, to be cherished and shown off year after year.

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Summer Indigos for the Table

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Whether you take in summer days by the ocean, in the mountains, or on the deck, let our collection of wavy glass, matte white ceramics, light wood accents and cool indigo blues offer relief from the heat.

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The Waterbury Tumbler, with its wavy texture, is, no doubt, the showstopper of this table. Glassblowers add the waves of glass to the tumblers as they blow and shape them, making each one unique.

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The table’s palette is set with floral patterned, organic cotton table linens. The pattern is created with wood block printing and natural indigo dye. Atop this, we layer our matte white Westport Dinnerware with Andrew Pearce’s 7” plates of cherry wood, and our Indigo colored, marble glazed appetizer plates (shown below). Round, chunky woven placemats set the stage for this layered look, and we are excited to offer teak flatware, the perfect outdoor or back porch choice; simple in silhouette and lightweight.

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We like to include beautiful serveware to use at the table when designing at Simon Pearce. The modern feel of the Indigo Marble serving bowl and platter, as well as the Alabaster Barre Pottery pitcher (shown at the top), are perfect choices for summer entertaining alfresco.

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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Set the Table: Urban Natural

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The solstice has passed and days are getting longer, but temps are still frigid and the landscape is decidedly mid-winter. Up here in Vermont, we waffle between deep drifts of snow and melted patches of ice, as January cannot decide whether to thaw or freeze us out.

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All this indecision with the weather has inspired us to find ways to clean and refresh our table settings with dark and light contrasts and clean and simple lines, incorporating the warmth of beeswax candlelight and the texture of our beloved Silver Lake glass serving pieces.

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Our Barre and Westport Dinnerware can be layered in a matte Slate black and creamy Alabaster white , to create the canvas for a tablescape that is a study in lights and darks.

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From there, add dimension by layering Andrew Pearce’s 7” wood plates or bowls.  The Westport dinner plate nests the 7” wood plates perfectly, as they share the same silhouette of flat base & straight rimmed sides.

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Two favorite Simon Pearce Glass collections are shown for this table. The Hampton Stemless Wine Glass is a lighter weight glass, with simple lines to use everyday on this modern tablescape, or try our Woodstock stemware, Simon Pearce’s classic wine glass, with the iconic hand finished opening.

Round out the theme by choosing one of our mixed media flatware patterns – Westport with its black resin handles, or the more delicate Sabre with horn or teak riveted handles. These patterns are all refreshingly casual alternatives to the usual stainless flatware.

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Gorgeous table linens in black and natural are less stark than the typical black and white theme, and will carry you through a multitude of table settings. Choose our stripes, solid, gridded or feather prints. Mix and match to bring some life to to your dining landscape. Add a sprig of green for the final contrast on this table of neutrals, clean and simple.

Forest Alchemy: Holiday Table

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Frosty mornings in Vermont inspire us to create table settings for the Holidays with natural elements. In this table setting, we create a lavish setting by combining our beautiful new Burlington dinnerware and redesigned Stratton stemware with botanical elements and a sophisticated color palette of silver and white.

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The elegant swirling pattern of the Stratton stem and the organic shape of the Burlington dinnerware make for an ethereal pairing. The stemware swirls take on a natural vine like appearance, and the cloud colored, irregular surface of the dinnerware adds a warmth to the sophisticated tones of silver and white.

 

Beneath the cloud colored dinnerware, we layer our Eucalyptus Runner, in white linen with a silver print. The artist screenprints these runners by hand in a color mix exclusive for Simon Pearce. I love the look of this runner on its own, down the center of the table, but you can also layer it with our Stonewashed tablecloths in Silver or White, and nothing is stopping you from placing multiple runners across the table under the place settings, as shown above. We’ve paired the runner with our silver and white stonewashed napkins in these shots, but the Eucalyptus print napkin is subtle enough to pair with the print runner as well.

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Stainless adds the final pop to this tablescape, in the form of hammered Simon Pearce napkin rings and mirror polished Georg Jensen serveware, all available online and in our retail stores. We are excited to offer Georg Jensen designs for purchase for the first time. The modern and timeless designs are a favorite of Simon’s.

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Finally, we’ve shown our newest hurricane, the Echo Lake on the table for the ultimate candlelight experience. You could opt to use the Echo Lake hurricane for floral, and add in Georg Jensen Cobra candlesticks. It is the versatility of our product and the mix of materials that makes Simon Pearce tablescapes come alive. Cheers !