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Aloysius wishes for flatware
First: sorry for being an absent bear but someone in my house has been hogging the computer, claiming he needed it to edit a book or whatever.
Earlier this week I saw an article in the New York Times about shopping for modernist flatware (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/26/garden/modernist-flatware-shopping-with-s-russell-groves.html). It was fascinating and made me think of the recent flatware debate in our house. Our stainless steel, everyday flatware was purchased many years ago on sale. It has served its purpose, but the stainless is now quite stained and we felt it was time for something new. As you can image, between a design curator and a design-happy teddy bear, selecting a new flatware pattern was no easy task. It is amazing how many options there are out there for stainless steel flatware, yet how few designs blend functionality with innovation. There were patterns that were visually beautiful but difficult to hold. There were patterns that ignored how tables are traditionally set (a few make the knife blade face up—come on, people!). And many more that were just insipid distillations of well-known silver patterns.
(Don Wallace for C. Hugo Pott & Co., Design One flatware, 1952, stainless steel. Courtesy Yale University Art Gallery)
Criterion 1: comfort. We wanted something that felt good in the hand. As this bear doesn’t have opposable thumbs, I sat out this discussion. But I agreed that the flatware should have decent weight. We looked at a classic: Design One designed in 1952 by Don Wallace and manufactured by C. Hugo Pott & Co. It has all the biomorphic curves one would want from a midcentury design, and is fairly ergonomic.
(Ward Bennett for Sasaki, Double Helix flatware, 1985, stainless steel. Courtesy Yale University Art Gallery)
Criterion 2: looks. As we all know: looks count. The simplicity of Ward Bennett’s Double Helix flatware (designed in 1985 and manufactured by Sasaki) is astounding. A simple twist to the handle gives the design elegance and interest, and the handles are suitably plump which makes holding them a joy (or so I’ve heard—darn these paws!).
(Jørgen Dahlerup and Gert Holbek for Georg Jensen, Prism flatware, 1963, stainless steel)
The winner. After months of pondering, we finally discovered Prism, designed by Jørgen Dahlerup and Gert Holbek in 1963 for Georg Jensen. The blades, bowls, and tines are elegantly stylized and contrast against the faceted handles. The facets on the handle refract the light and feel surprisingly comfortable in the paw. And now the important question: what’s for breakfast?
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