British designer Jasper Morrison and Finnish manufacturer Iittala recently collaborated on a tableware collection centered around the role of form, material, and design promoting good atmosphere at the table.
Dubbed Raami, ‘frame’ in Finnish, the collection is made of pieces in ceramic, glass, and wood. Each piece is designed to function as an independent unit yet complement each other on the tabletop.
Jasper Morrison has been here before. Hailed as an ambassador of minimalist design when he first arrived on the international scene a few decades ago, Morrison is known for stripping elements to essentials- a focus on purpose rather than ornamentation and complex patterning. The end result is design that ‘blends’ non-descriptly in a setting- yet is so instrumental in the setting itself that, when removed, the sum of the parts is no longer greater than the whole. These products were dubbed ‘Supernormal’ by Morrison, and the subject of one of a few titles that Morrison wrote or influenced early in his career.
Morrison has had tremendous success with dinnerware design as well. His extensive ‘Moon’ service for Rosenthal had a focus on simplistic form (in white, of course) with emphasis on functional surface and form. Cups, for example, had distended, mildly exaggerated handles that permitted better handling while mirroring the basic form of the pieces.
Morrison also worked on PlateBowlCup (and Glass Family/KnifeForkSpoon) for Alessi of Italy, where he focused on an everyday service. The bowls, in particular, are quite representative of Morrison’s work- and more than likely the best example of his tableware design- especially when considered in the changing utilitarian roles as bowls grow larger- cereal, service, etc..
The Raami series shows some development in the normally restrained Morrison’s oeuvre. There is an emphasis on the qualities of materials and their influence on atmosphere at a gathering. Wood is unadorned with a focus on form and natural color. Glassware, which in Morrison’s hands is generally simplistic and clear, suddenly has muted colors and fluting/reeding- taken so far as to produce tealights for additional twinkle on the table. The plates are still simple in form with a gentle curved rim to contain the food- we can even say ‘frame’ it.
Perhaps the best reason for the title is not for a literal ‘frame,’ but for how the collection functions as part of a memorable repast.
According to Morrison,
“I have a feeling that the days of the fully matched tableware sets are over. What counts more these days is the atmosphere of the table. I noticed that a table with unmatched well-chosen pieces loosens the formality of a table setting and helps create a homelier and more relaxed atmosphere. Raami items work together in an interesting way, influencing not just the atmosphere but behavior as well. Every item in the Raami collection is an equal part of the entity, perfect on its own, yet meaningful to the collection.”
Ironically the emphasis on utilitarian use of the collection was lost by the manufacturer via exclusive marketing toward a small sector of the population located on the East Coast of the United States. The collection is now available for the general population to experience and enjoy.
Available at Amusespot.