Lifestyle

Smorgas Board

Smorgas BoardEntertaining at home during the holiday season — whether those holidays include Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year or Chinese New Year celebrations — is a great time to show off a fabulous table setting. Yet it is also the time when hosts realise that the good silver may be missing a fork or two, or that the inherited china pattern screams the Age of Aquarius — and not in a good way. While matching cutlery, dishware and stemware is never wrong, today’s more casual dinner tables call for a blend of high and low. Designer ware is increasingly affordable to encourage daily use of beautiful products that are more flexible too: bowls these days often do triple duty for cereal, soup and rice. With a holiday table groaning with family recipes and holiday treats, it only takes one or two outstanding designer pieces to transform it into a memorable visual feast.

At this fall’s biannual Maison et Objet in Paris, some of the world’s established brands and innovative newcomers unveiled their latest table settings. Here is a selection of how to gussy up a party in style.

French crystal manufacturer Daum has a legacy closely intertwined with major art movements since its founding in 1878. Meticulous detailed forms and vivid colours using a lost wax process to obtain its signature grainy appearance make every piece instantly recognisable. Part of its Collection Louis XV, Daum’s red champagne flute juxtaposes the Art Nouveau flourishes of its translucent red floral base with the elegantly elongated tulip shaped bowl.

Since 1842, porcelain maker Haviland has produced finely crafted tableware in its Limoges facilities using kilns that reach upwards of 1,400?C for an ideal combination of strength and translucency. Artists then finish the piece with enamel and jewel tone colours, painstakingly hand applying details with confidence. Haviland’s Salon Murat includes a soup bowl that features a running Greek frieze relief along its lid and sides, with gold accents on a delicate white ground. The classic lines of the bowl and intricately ornate pattern add opulence without fussiness.

Washi is a traditional Japanese paper used for ink paintings and calligraphy. Its textural qualities make it aesthetically appealing to a number of different applications, as established Kyoto-based paper maker Kodo is exploring through its accessories brand Kami-mon. Bicorne is a fruit bowl available in three colour combinations by Kobe-born industrial designer Lijian Huang. Its simple form is the result of different lengths of washi bound together using traditional Japanese book binding techniques. Unexpectedly durable, Bicorne cleverly reunites fruit with their ancestral tree parents.

French luxury crystal maker Lalique was inspired by the essence of Europe’s first international city for its Venise collection. The patterns come from the layers of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture prevalent throughout Venice, and how they merged the best from east and west aesthetic traditions. Venezia, part of the Venise collection, is a series of bowls that plays up the graphic nature of a Gothic motif in clear crystal. Its op art effect makes it a timeless classic and a certain talking point.

Finally, Nordic design has a fresh, clean appearance that makes them impervious to trends, and Muuto is one of the leading Scandi brands that bring the best established and novice designers to international attention. Candelabra The More the Merrier is designed by Louise Campbell and appears to float above dinner tables on delicate points. Made from technical rubber and steel available in white, black and grey, the seemingly random placement of candles add a minimal yet distinctive sparkle to the room.