HFN 2010 Awards of Excellence | Tabletop | December
Lenox's Donna Karan Lenox singing bowls
Beautiful as well as therapeutic, the Donna Karan Lenox singing bowls are one of many stunning components of the new collection. Singing bowls come in different shapes and sizes. When held on the palm (or in the case of larger bowls, when you stand in them or place your feet in them), the combination of sound and vibration they release when struck with a padded mallet is thought to interact with an individual's chakras to promote well-being. Whether or not they actually work is immaterial; the handmade bowls are beautiful. They are constructed of six different metals and coal-fired by a team of four people in Nepal--one person rotates the bowl while the other three hammer it. The bowls are fired numerous times, depending on their size. Larger pieces, for example, are fired 45 times.
The Donna Karan Lenox collection includes bowls in seven sizes that range in price from $75 to $425. They come gift-packaged in rice-paper boxes handcrafted by Nepalese workers who are paid a fair wage, according to Glenn DeStefano, president of Donna Karan Lenox. They will evidently be kept very busy--the pieces were well-received at the New York Tabletop Show in October and demand is high, according to DeStefano. "We knew they were unique and a talking point," he said. "They tell a story and you can [entice] the customer with that." lenox.com
Libbey nimbly adapted the popular restaurant trend for small sampler desserts to the consumer market with its Just Desserts collection of miniature glass serving pieces. This fall, it extended the concept to the before-dinner hour with Just Tasting, a collection of mini vessels ideal for serving individual appetizers.
"We ate our dessert first with our Just Desserts program but the mini trend remains hot and growing," said Greg Pax, consumer marketing manager. "Small portions and small items from which to serve and eat remain in vogue, both in restaurants and in home entertaining."
The Just Tasting program includes a 3-inch square bowl, a 4-inch square plate, a 3-inch round can-shaped bowl and an appetizer fork. Libbey would configure them in packages of 12 for each SKU. The bowl sets will include recipe cards.
Robert Zollweg, Libbey's creative director, has published a cookbook on mini desserts and is currently working on a Just Tasting cookbook. "The cookbooks provide ideas--and confidence--to the home chef that a dessert or a tasting party is something she can do," Pax said. "It really is about the entire solution--not just the glass, plates, and spoons--but the ideas, recipes, and education on how to bring it all to life." libbey.com
Crystal: Rogaska Crystal
After years of working behind the scenes in the United States as a supplier to some of the major tabletop companies, Rogaska has stepped into the spotlight with a significant branding initiative supported by licensing agreements with Trump Home and Kathy Ireland. "We want to add our name to the product out there," said Bostjan Leskovar, director.
The Slovenian company's two-tiered approach targets the high-end market with Rogaska Pegasus 1665, a collection of handcrafted, design-oriented pieces, enhanced by new Trump Home pieces; and Rogaska crystal, a more everyday collection of stemware, barware and giftware pieces, enhanced by the Kathy Ireland collection.
Cities is part of the Rogaska Pegasus 1665 assortment. Designed by Gordana Drinkovic, who has worked in crystal for 20 years, the collection is a series of votives and candle holders in different sizes and shapes and in three different finishes (clear, satin or a combination of the two) that can be fitted together to create a skyline. Three cities are reflected in the initial collection: the cubes represent Manhattan, the cones represent Atlantis and the round pieces represent Babylon. The individual pieces range in price from $50 to $150 apiece. There is a beginner set for $500 that provides enough pieces to make a small city, while the expert set, at $1,000, offers enough shapes to create your own metropolis. rogaskausa.com
Flatware: Pickard China
Pickard China rounded out its tabletop assortment this fall with the addition of Herdmar flatware from Portugal. The pieces have a PVD finish-- similar to powder-coating--over stainless steel that renders them durable and dishwasher-safe while adding an element of fashion through a variety of different colors, such as chocolate, black and gold. Mirror or sandblasted finishes are available as well.
There are six different patterns in the initial launch, most of which are transitional in style. They include Luxor, Oslo, Perugia, Rocco, Spiga and Vintage.
Response to the line has been "tremendous," according to Andrew Pickard, executive vice president. "We have opened 20 new accounts since Tabletop which is really incredible given the majority of stores will normally not bring in new product during fourth quarter," Pickard said. "The Herdmar line is ... European sleek, has tremendous value pricing and most importantly is totally unique in the market place. I am extremely excited to have the Herdmar line as part of Pickard's expanding tabletop package, and I am anticipating a tremendous growth year for this line in 2011." pickardchina.com
Dinnerware: BIA Cordon Bleu
BIA Cordon Bleu's strategy is to build on its core business with touches of fashion and personality. Thus, alongside its well-established whiteware business there are new dinnerware patterns that add small doses of bright color via stripes, dots or other design motifs. The new Hot Spice collection of solid-color and concentric-ringed dinnerware designs in several brightly colored combinations accomplishes this.
"Just adding a splash of color can give [a line] a new merchandising look," said Nathaniel Allen, vice president of sales.
Hot Spice, part of the newly created Hathaway Road sub-brand, was featured in a brand-new showroom at Forty One Madison, a surprise birthday gift to company president Paul Baughman. BIA executives scouted the space, once the home of Orrefors Kosta Boda where Baughman once worked, and presented the showroom option to Baughman. The considerably larger space enables the company to show the breadth of its line and its design flexibility. biacordonblu.com