When it comes to ideating new concepts in design, Simon and Pia are a dream team. The original glass basket was Pia’s idea, which was brought to life using the clean lines of Simon’s Addison Collection. We launched this first version in March 2018 and it quickly became a spring classic.
Two years later, we took the same simple shape and applied the wrapped-glass effect of Echo Lake for a texture that nods to a natural woven basket. Like all Echo Lake pieces, it’s made by master glassblowers nimbly wrapping a fine strand of molten glass around the silhouette. With both baskets, the handle takes some skill to apply, with a race against time and gravity to prevent it from flopping.
As whimsical as it is, this sweet design has inspired a surprising number of uses: A vessel for pretty pastilles or cheeseboard crackers, an unexpected planter, a flower girl wedding accessory… Surely we’ll think of more as the years go on.
We like to think of our glass baskets as future heirlooms, darling markers of the start of spring, and unique vessels to fill and leave on a doorstep as a May Day tradition. How will you use yours?
With Winter Solstice upon us, we take every opportunity to enjoy the wintery wonderland as a source for new inspiration. A steady flow of ideas come from reflecting on this season, taking cues from nature for new evergreen trees, frosty decorative objects, and essentials to gather around the table. We transform what we see and experience into new glass objects to bring home and enjoy everyday. Our handcrafted glass is magical as it starts as a molten material that takes it’s form from the finesse and skill of the master glassblowers.
The organic shaped Burlington Collection’s plates and bowls have unique reactive effects in the glazing that are both casual and elegant. It can be paired with any of our glassware and flatware lines, but here we have it featured with our new Benson Tumbler and Warren Flatware.
The Benson tumbler evolved from the geometric design concept originating with the martini glass and it is universally useful for a variety of occasions. The Spruce tree is now offered in a new mini version that is a great gift or a nice addition to any beloved glass forest. Building upon our natural theme the potters created a great line of marbled clay vessels that are very unique centerpiece bowls and vases called Beachstone.
The new warren flatware is inspired by a teardrop shape, similar to the lamp in our lighting line. The streamlined flatware is 18/10 stainless steel that is cast and forged by skilled craftsman. Partnering with Bertozzi, we created new linen patterns for this winter. Our favorite is the naturally beautiful Ponderosa design with oversized pine needles in both a napkin and a runner. Another new addition is the shape of our classic evergreen trees as a beeswax candle in ivory, red and green. Lastly, a useful item for entertaining is the elemental Soapstone Chiller that can keep you wine cool or double as a mini ice bucket. Consider some of these new additions as part of your holiday celebrations as we officially head into winter.
Looking back on 2020, we had the pleasure of working with a group of design students from Pratt Institute to interpret our brand and design intent through their eyes.
The collaboration started with conversations with Constantin Boym the chair of the Industrial Design department at Pratt, about how we could continue to build on the relationship between the two organizations. We wanted to focus on exploring the growing connection between product design and the handmade. The next step to getting this started was to partner with Dana D’Amico the professor of the special projects class, to create a design brief. Looking through the lens of the Simon Pearce ethos, the students would investigate form and function that would be appealing to a younger demographic.
Research started before the pandemic early in 2020, and we were able to have the Pratt class leave Brooklyn and make the trip up to Vermont and visit our facilities to learn first hand about our processes for making glass and ceramics.
We gave the students a tour and introduction to the brand at our flagship Mill location, and then visited many of the facilities of our Windsor location for an in depth explanation of how we make things. Matt McFarland and Neil Cockwill gave insights into our unique processes, and requirements to make an object into something we can produce. This input is crucial for students to understand in order to resolve a design concept so it can be made by master glassblowers or potters. Over the many months that followed, we transitioned the classroom to working virtually online with video conferencing.
The students had to quickly adapting to working from home, and were extremely resourceful with continuing to experiment with concepts off campus. As we did our virtual review of the class progress, the students revealed many very poetic refections on the natural landscape and rituals of use. This exploration lead to some very creative vessel concepts for glass and ceramics that they could see incorporating into their lives.
“These students really worked hard through a challenging semester and were very excited to share their work”, a quote from Dana. The concepts were refined into a final presentation that would be reviewed by a panel of judges.
In addition to Dana and myself, we were fortunate to have an amazing panel formed from New York museums. We were joined by Yao-Fen You, Senior Curator + Head of Product Design and Decorative Arts at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and Elizabeth St. George, Curator at the Brooklyn Museum. With the virtual final review, each student gave a concise overview of their semester work. After much consideration, the panel selected the work of Stephanie Chen for her nicely resolved reference to ice formations at the Mill in connection with the rise in whiskey+bourbon drinking.
Stephanie’s study of the waterfall influenced the tactile experience of the glass in the hand, and considering amber drinks like whiskey all played into how this concept came together.
We were delighted to see all the students hard work pushed through these very thoughtful concepts and look forward to future collaborations. We love to explore concepts for the home and build relationships with students. To further delve into exploring this potential we provide internships over the summer months so students can be engaged with all elements of creating and developing new products.