This silverware is meant to be seen–and used
Like holiday decor and relatives from out of town, silverware makes occasional appearances, relegated for the most part of the year in flat, compartmentalized boxes stored in cabinets where the good china and crystal are kept.
Not so with “Mood,” a 24-piece, silver-plated service for six by French fine silver flatware and home accessories house Christofle. Created for everyday use, it’s also designed for display.
Resembling an upright egg, it reminds Valerie Debray of a flower once you lift its lid off. “The idea was to present a style adapted to a new way of living,” says Debray, Christofle managing director for Asia Pacific.
She points out that Christofle has been into cutlery since 1840, but as people’s lives continued to change, the company was looking to reinvent itself through an object that would not only serve as an elegant storage but something that could be used daily.
“It’s a very simple shape,” she describes the quirky container, “but the simplest shapes are the most difficult things to achieve.”
Creative partnerships with some of the most exciting design visionaries have also kept the 180-year-old company current. Tie-ups with avant-garde photographer Man Ray and writer-filmmaker Jean Cocteau yielded a limited-edition series of plates, while jewelry and a variety of home accents were the results of partnerships with modern-day product designers Andree Putman and Ora-Ito.
In “Jardin D’Eden” (Garden of Eden), Marcel Wanders’ collaboration with Christofle, the delicate and highly detailed craft of engraving is highlighted in a seven-piece silver-plated silverware collection with gilt or partial gilt finishing.
Wanders, the Dutch architectural, interior and industrial designer known as the “bad boy of the design world” for his extravagant aesthetics, presented what has been described as a “toned down” take on the most famous garden in history, filling forks, spoons, knives, plates, trays and other dining table accessories with a pretty, interlacing pattern of flowers and leaves.
Founded in 1830 by jeweler Charles Christofle, the company—originally a jewelry workshop owned by his in-laws —expanded its product line through the years to include picture frames, vases, glassware, dinnerware and gift items.
It has widened its range of materials, too; besides silver, the brand uses stainless steel, wood, leather, crystal and gold.
Despite being synonymous with formality and a refined sense of living, Christofle’s cutlery also keeps up with the times. Tradition may dictate that table spreads be all matchy-matchy, but Debray says it’s now permissible to set a table with a blend of classic and contemporary accessories.
“I think you can. I do!” she affirms. “You can play around things and be your own creative director at home. With so many choices these days, it’s okay to mix and have fun.”
And while most of us are wont to preserving silverware’s sheen for future generations—or at least the next special occasion—Debray encourages its frequent use.
Recalling a TV ad of the brand showing the dishwasher-friendly quality of its silverware, Debray says, “We try to be in people’s everyday life, and the beauty of silver is that is has a patina quite unlike stainless steel. Silver is something that ages well, and when you invest in it, it’s going to last forever.”—CONTRIBUTED
Christofle is available at Rustan’s Makati.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.