21st Century Tea Sets
Modern homes are not always apt to be furnished with gold cutlery and precious table sets, damask tablecloths or silver tea services. They are often so small that it is even difficult to find a place for storing baking pans, bowls and pots, let alone the rest. Not to mention that Sunday is no longer the same as it was in the time of our grandmothers: once, even in summer, during the Sunday visits, the most beautiful dishes and glasses were used. And teatime was a celebration of good taste where women could show off their most elegant and sumptuous pottery. That time is over and people have learned to buy practical and sometimes cheaper dishes, glasses and cookware to be used independently on Tuesday and on Sunday.
Still, this allows to find compromises that take up the aesthetic factor, without being overly elegant for an ordinary Tuesday: the solution is to take refuge in the originality, entertainment and irreverence, in other words choosing funny but also sophisticated shapes, which for their versatility are never out of tune independently on the occasion.
An example? The collections Seletti I-Ware and Versailles Fluo, the latter permanently exhibited at the MAD (Museum of Art and Design) in New York, are made of fine porcelain that can be washed in the dishwasher. A royal nose-thumbing to banality!
The designer Vuk Dragovic presents a prototype of tea service which has the power to enhance the flavour of this ancient beverage. The tea service is projected by the designer with the understanding that the procedure for making a good tea can not be limited to boiling water and soaking some tea leaves and then adding sugar and maybe a little milk. The set consists of a special teapot and some cups that are made up of two hemispheres separated by a thin network that doesn't let the tea leaves pass. The lower hemisphere contains the boiling water and the tea leaves, while the upper hemisphere prevents the aroma to evaporate. After only three minutes you just rotate the cup of 180 degrees in such a way as to separate the water (that now is tea) from the leaves without losing the characteristic aroma. Vuk Dragovic has therefore focused its attention not only on the aesthetic appearance of the product but also on its optimum functionality.
One of the latest trends in the world of design is the '"upcycling", that is the use of discarded materials to create new desirable objects. In other words, a kind of creative recycling.
Among the most interesting examples of this category there is the work of Christine Misiak, an emerging designer who brings back to life old English tea sets collected from flea markets, but only after giving them a new look.
Some of them are entirely lacquered in colours such as black, orange or acid green (as in the main picture), creating astonishing contrasts with the imperfections of hand-wrought metal; others are completely dismantled and assembled using industrial parts. A fascinating mix of old and new that allowed the designer to win the Peter Walker Award for the most innovative product.
The tea sets are available in various colours and can be purchased on demand at the starting price of 150 pounds.