A FEAST FOR THE EYES
The ritual of laying the table is so important to me in my family life. It has become part of our daily routine. Taking the time to create an intimate, visually stimulating table at which to enjoy a meal together is a milestone in the day. Laying a tablecloth, setting out the plates and cutlery and making the effort to light some candles, cut some flowers or foliage from the garden, arranging them thoughtfully on the table are each little nods towards affection. Affection for beauty, for the food we’ll share and for the time we spend together.
My tableware collection is a mix-and-match affair of vintage pieces I’ve lovingly sourced, glassware and ceramicware from my collaboration with Italian design brand, Les Ottomans. I first met Bertrando di Renzo, Les Ottomans’ founder, two years ago. We both felt immediate synergy and decided to work together on a collection of tableware, comprising artisanal, handpainted ceramics and trays.
I love to take a personal approach to laying the table, starting with a tablecloth. I think there is something so special about having a textile to sit at. It softens the physical experience and provides a platform for colour and pattern, upon which you can clash your flatware and glassware. Experiment with different candlesticks at varying heights to create layers and add a vintage vase for your cut flowers or leaves. The plates could very well match, or if you prefer, take a more eclectic approach, layering contemporary charger plates with mismatched vintage dinner plates.
The most important thing to remember is that this should be a stress-free, soothing ritual. There is nothing serious here. Take pleasure in creating a table that sits, jewel-like, within your dining space. Use your favourite plates, cutlery and glasses, even when your only dinner guest is yourself. There’s no logic in ‘saving-for-best,’ so use this time to lift up the mundane and discover behind it a wealth of pleasure and expression: A feast for the eyes before the feast itself.