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.

Beachstone Pottery

Earthy poetic in form & technique

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Artistry, concentration, and the hand all contribute to the remarkable objects we turn out at our pottery workshop everyday. The challenge of building things from the ground up, with earthy clay takes a blend of virtuosity, muscle memory and a keen eye to what looks balanced and well proportioned.

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Our latest artistic creation from the pottery is our Beachstone collection.  The inspiration comes from the natural elements here in Vermont.  Along the shore of Lake Champlain, particularity in the area of Shelburne farms, there are beach stones and rock formations that are made of 450-million-year-old, Iberville Shale.

The stones have beautiful graphic striations and veins of the mineral calcite, that inspired the sedimentary effects we wanted to capture in our clay.  By experimenting with different colors  of clay pushed together; we created the effect we wanted to achieve.

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Jeff, our master potter, has a great deal of experience with unique techniques and has perfected marbling the clay and throwing forms on the Potter’s wheel that reveal the graphic striated layers of clay.

Links to: Round Vase / Classic Vase / Bowl

See how it’s done below.

Handcrafted Home Fragrance

Add a New Dimension with Handcrafted Scents for the Home

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Simon Pearce glass is known for its clarity.  A captivating and lyrical quality of flickering light is created when a candle burns in one of our Silver Lake pieces. The Silver Lake glass texture we created is reminiscent of the reflection of birch trees that surround Silver Lake, not far from our Vermont glass blowing studio. With our home fragrance line, we offer a new way to experience Simon Pearce in your home, with scents curated to reflect a simple and pure approach, in line with our design aesthetic.

When creating the scents, we were inspired by the vast and dense Evergreens in the surrounding forests, the freshly mowed fields that we pass on the way to the glassblowing studio, and the gorgeous Peonies that bloom in Simon and Pia’s garden each Spring.

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Our Scented candles and diffusers use the same durable and beautiful handcrafted vessels as our other products, which makes our home fragrance program unique.

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The Limited Edition ceramic vessels are glazed in unique colors for each season. Made with our porcelaneous stoneware (stoneware containing porcelain ingredients), they are strong, long lasting and reusable as mugs, vases, storage vessels, a pot for your small plant, or a votive candle holder. Available in our retail stores.

The diffuser vessel is a hand blown organic shape we love and fill with a blend of essential oils and all natural fragrance. The fragrance is absorbed through rattan reeds, and the essential oils slowly release the fragrance over time.

One bottle of diffuser oil can last between six months to a year, after which, you could purchase replacement oil, or use the vessel as a vase. 

Available in the scents: Coast, Peony Blossom, Tranquility, and Evergreen.

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Every aspect of these candles and diffusers is carefully considered. From the hand made vessel, soy grown in the USA, to the lead free cotton wicks, the small batch production and the packaging, which makes our scented candles or diffusers the perfect gift.

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Try our current scents:

EVERGREEN: Spruce, fir needles, balsam, citrus

COAST: Ocean mist, briny kelp, fresh citrus 

PEONY BLOSSOM: Oriental blooms, green stems, rose musk

TRANQUILITY: Herbal patchouli, vanilla, lime

PRAIRIE: Cut grass, hay, lavender

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:

Holiday Decorating

Hygge Holiday 

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At Simon Pearce we are embracing the Swedish lifestyle of Hygge (“hoo-gah”) by creating warm and cozy moments where our handcrafted glass and pottery are at the center. Styling our extra large hurricanes with multiple candles and some seasonal fill such as pine cones, sugar (as snow) or bits of nature we gather creates a centerpiece for a hygge atmosphere where candlelight is central.  We include Crystalline teardrop vases in candent with our alabaster and selenite votive holders, and we have the perfect mix of subtle and soft textures and colors.

Holiday Centerpiece

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Create a centerpiece with our new Echo Lake Bowl. With the same light reflecting qualities that inspired our Echo Lake Hurricanes, the texture of this bowl can either illuminate or subtly reflect the contents of the centerpiece. 

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Here we show natural elements on their own and illuminated by string lights, as well as cranberries floating in water, illuminated by our floating candles. The shape of the bowl also makes it a natural for serving trifle desserts or other holiday food you wish to highlight.

Small Touches 

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Some of the finest details can make the most memorable moments for friends and family over the holidays. In our stores, the customers’ faces light up when they see our 1” glass ice cubes wrapped like presents with ⅛” red ribbon and placed around our glass Christmas trees. Groupings can adorn the table or mantle in this way.

Recently, we added a place card holder, created from our ice cube molds. Try wrapping the cardholder with red ribbon around the sides and add a name card for each place setting, or simply wrap a cube for each guest, or both!

Crystalline Ornaments

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The allure of our subtly textured crystalline inspired our potters to try the mysterious glaze techniques on something our customers love, ornaments. The small round porcelain shape our potters create has the perfect contour for the glaze crystals because it is all about timing and shape with our crystalline glaze. As the ornaments are slowly cooled, and then held at a certain temperature, the liquid glaze becomes more like molasses. Only certain components of the glaze move around within the liquid and form crystals, their size determined by the amount of time they remain in this state. It is the magic and unpredictability of this process that creates the beautiful surface of our crystalline.

Holiday Floral

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The Silver Lake Bowl has a wonderful icy texture that hides the stems of beautiful greenery and florals that you might gather outside your home. What we love about this bowl is how it makes floral arranging for the holidays so simple. Skip the florist, in favor of gathering greens and berries left on branches, while you walk the dog, or stroll with a friend, then bring them inside and arrange with ease, as the tapered base holds the stems in place for you. Flower arranging, Vermont style.

Illuminate the Holidays

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Our LED bases have illuminated our glass evergreens for years, but more recently we are enamored with silver strands of tiny LED lights. A 30 ft. plug in strand with a blank leader works well for creating mantle and centerpiece displays or to decorate your Christmas tree. The shorter 15 ft. strand has a battery pack for use in other, more precarious situations, such as inside one of our hurricanes in place of a candle, for coffee table vignettes or even around place settings at a holiday table, with the battery pack hidden under a table runner. It’s even possible to use these strands to adorn branches with hanging glass ornaments over your dining table for the ultimate holiday atmosphere.

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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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Chestnut Hill Store

We are pleased to open our 10th store today in our new Chestnut Hill, MA location. This store opening was made possible by the collaboration of key people with many different specialties, here at Simon Pearce. With this essential teamwork across departments, we have set a new bar for ourselves with this beautiful retail experience.

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The store reflects a new direction of design, that takes people on a journey to discover a unique connection to us through glass and pottery.  Our main intention of the store design, is to welcome the customers to explore the world of handcrafted excellence, and bring the essence of the Vermont landscape that inspires us to Chestnut Hill.   

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Overall, the store has a warm natural contemporary feel, with beautiful real materials of solid wood, wrought steel and earthy tones that are used throughout the main retail floor. It appeals to the customer that appreciates a humanistic approach to design, with a blend of our two important core concepts: exquisite iconic products and simple practicality to be enjoyed everyday. The product presentations are intended to inspire with dynamic displays and make shopping easy by categories.  The planning and product development teams mapped out the store with focused planograms.

A copper-top bar, similar to the large one we have in our flagship Mill will highlight our barware, and connect back to Vermont.  We are featuring a pair of our recently launched vine chandeliers that make a focal point in the center of the store. They show a new dimension of what we can do with our glass and the element of light.

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In the front of the store we installed a large scale video screen, that reveals the mastery that goes into our products, with the artisans that make them. 

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The retail team, lead by Dana Sabatino, VP of Customer Experience, coordinated efforts to outfit the store and finesse the product displays.

The store fixturing is an assortment of furniture designed specifically for this new location.  The combination of solid walnut and burnished steel create a streamlined aesthetic for the retail floor.  Jan Mollmark built the illuminated shelving units throughout the store, that feature our quintessential glass and pottery.

From drawing to reality.

We partnered with Andrew Pearce to have the pieces hand-built here in Vermont, at his facility in Hartland. Andrew and his team worked over the span of many weeks to refine the construction details for both the steel welding and wood, to finish it all under one roof. The result is an elegant group, built to last.

The new store design features a separate studio space in the back that highlights our handcrafted pendants, and lamps with a table in the center, where interior designers can meet with clients. 

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The studio is also conducive to the Gift Registry, where customers have this work table on which to create their ideal place-setting, or to choose the personalized assortment that they would want to have in their home.

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The retail team has opened the doors!

“The new store is fantastic; awesome job by all. Thank you.”       -Simon Pearce

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.

Inspired Living & Giving

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“When I started making glass, my intention was to make pleasing, simple glasses for everyday use. The designs would be timeless and hold up to constant use.”

– Simon Pearce, Design for Living

 

PURE Anemone Vase

With free-flowing design elements, the Anemone is a statement-making centerpiece and a show-stopping gift.

 

Hartland Flutes

Inspired by glass buoys floating off the shores of the Pearce family home in Eleuthera, Simon’s globe-and-stem design is a signature silhouette handmade by a duo of master glassblowers working in tandem.

 

Silver Lake Candle Vessels

With a shared passion for handcrafted products for the home, Simon teamed up with Linnea’s Lights to create clean-burning soy wax candles, hand-poured into this custom textured glass vessel.

 

Colbalt Crystalline Teardrop Vase

Paging through a beloved pottery book inspired our artisans to revive a historical labor-intensive glazing technique that comes to life anew in each crystallized ceramic design.