The art of mixing and matching tableware
Let’s talk about the art of mixing and matching tableware. Last week, I wandered into a store in Copenhagen that had the most exquisite collection of tableware. The owner is a collector and downsized her large apartment to a smaller apartment, which may have been the catalyst to starting this store (more on that in Issue 04 when I interview her). This store features a striking combination of plates, cups and platters that span all colours, patterns, time periods, styles and materials. She puts everything together so nicely and you stand there and think, it must have taken decades to build up an assortment this diverse. This happenstance got me thinking about the art of mixing and matching tableware.
I see a lot of collections develop a beautiful design and apply it across an entire suite of objects (dinner plate, salad plate, bowl, cup, saucer, tea pot etc.). I understand economies of scale and production costs believe me, but why don’t more companies produce lines that mix and match designs so people who want to own a mixed look but do not want to shell out for six sets of dishes can achieve the same result?
So, instead of looking at your dishes and wondering why everything looks the same, there are (a few) options to achieve an eclectic look without necessarily doing all the leg work of picking up individual pieces over time and hoping they work.
I suppose in an ideal world, (like the fashion world), we would all get to curate our ‘wardrobe’ of tableware like people do with their own closets. You know how people purchase articles of clothing across their favourite brands? We learn to trade up and trade down brands, styles, and price points and mix H&M with Alexander Wang, and Muji with Prada. That sort of thing.
In the tableware world, when you buy dishes, often you buy the whole collection- who would do such a thing in the fashion world!! No one dresses head to toe in one brand (or if you do that, of course, if your prerogative) so everything matches. Why is that? Why hasn’t the tableware world followed fashion? If we pick and choose the clothes we wear, why don’t we buy one or two plates here, and another one or two plates there? I am guilty of this too. When I bought my first set of dishes (when I moved out of the house), I went to one store and bought a set of eight table settings. Now I look at my dishes and wonder why did I follow convention? Now, because I am interested in mixing and matching, I have to work harder to make my table interesting, as my plates are all the same.
This leads me to a neat example: House of Rym is the result of a cross cultural meeting of design minds between Tunisia (Rym Tounsi + Zied Youssef- the owners) and Sweden (Anna Backlund and Elisabeth Dunker- the designers). What Anna Backlund and Elisabeth Dunker, did with House of Rym was smart.
House of Rym 2012
The design duo started with a small tea set and plate collection in 2012 and created a handful of patterns that could be mixed and matched together. They designed a terrific set of tableware with funky names like Triangle Walk, Black Almond, Tissage, Seaweed + Honesuckle and Howls in the Night.
Fast Forward: In 2013, they updated and expanded the collection with new items, patterns and colours, which can all be used interchangeably, due out in stores in April/May 2013. Brilliant!
House of Rym 2013 (Updated Collection)
Does anyone know of any other brands who purposely design a mix and match collection? Suggestions welcomed.