Food is for eating and the dinner table is, above all else, a setting for conversations and bonhomie; by that logic, one can dispense with fanciful table settings.
However, art de la table elevates every occasion to a distinct realm of special — after all, we have fond memories of heirloom crockery that is inexplicably intertwined with our personal history. Here, I share this year’s most avant-garde tableware designs that meld artistic sensibilities with straightforward functionality and are great investments for those looking to add to their family treasures.
Born in Beirut to a Palestinian father and Turkish mother, Istanbul-based Nour Al Nimer brings a unique juxtaposition of cultural references to Nimerology, the tableware label she founded in 2013. With an MA in Fine Arts from the Chelsea School of Art & Design and experience in Surface Print Design from the London College of Communication, Nour applies her technical expertise to personal experiences to create one-of-a-kind designs.
“My inspiration comes from my personal journeys and travels” she explains.
From there, her photographs, sketches and paintings slowly shape a coherent theme that plays out across each piece. For her latest collection, ‘I’m Off To Join The Circus’, the designer sought inspiration from The Night Circus, the 2011 fantasy novel by Erin Morgenstern, whilst bringing back the colours, energy and excitement of the fairgrounds of her childhood.
Dubai based Aljoud Lootah’s Tebr collection marks her first foray into porcelain. The acclaimed designer interprets Emirati architectural heritage with the featured 14 karat gold patterns inspired by the antique wooden doors of the historic Al Ain Palace.
“Recreating these patterns in porcelain required a deeper understanding of the motifs carved into wood, and indeed of how the door was built” said Lootah.
An arduous process of deconstructing the patterns to their finest components was followed by the trial and error of bringing them together in a material they were not originally intended for. Each piece is handmade and produced in limited runs. Petals on the vases are carved in fine porcelain and the gold patterns are drawn by hand.
The Spanish designer is known to bring humour and street culture to his designs. Hayon’s latest collection for the heritage tableware label Vista Alegre is a treat for the table and a joy for the eyes. Titled Fokfijunki, the collection explores the amalgamation of Portuguese folk culture and the designer’s own imaginative world. “The inspiration of the details that constitute each piece comes from my vision of what Portugal is,” says Hayon. “Iconic regional elements like the rooster, the fishes, the animals, as well as the countryside and the details of the tiles, all translated from my point of view.”
That view is, in typical Hayon style, full of fantasy. The designer’s distinct flair for watercolours and line drawing is evidenced as recurring motifs from the Hayon universe create mesmerising landscapes on porcelain.
Founded in 2015 in Shanghai by Thomas Dariel and Delphine Moreau, Maison Dada takes its name from Dadaism, the art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century. With Tristan Tzara and Hugo Ball as one of its pioneers, the movement which was developed in reaction to the First World War rejected the logic, reason, and aestheticism of modern capitalist society, instead expressing an anti-bourgeois philosophy.
Little surprise then, that a sense of re-appropriations — Maison Dada creates objects that are gently crazy, defying certainty and common taste — underscore the brand’s work. Not only is their Off The Moon tray hot on the champagne gold trend, in drawing inspiration from the fascinating connectivity between the Earth and the Moon, it is Dadaism to a tee.