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10 Easy Pieces: Italian-Designed Flatware

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10 Easy Pieces: Italian-Designed Flatware

April 17, 2019

In the four months I spent traveling through Italy over the last couple years, I like to think I’ve become a micro-expert on Italian design. From the time spent in museums, historic buildings, modern additions, and the converted houses of iconic Italian designers, I can safely say that Italian design is sublimely idiosyncratic. It’s hard to explain in a few words (is there an Italian phrase for je ne sais quoi?), sometimes a little kooky, and with many different eras and faces, but there’s a thread that runs through all of it: you just know it when you see it. Here at Remodelista, we see flatware as small-scale sculpture, a litmus test of a good designer, so here are our favorites from the Italians—from Ettore Sottsass, the Vignellis, Gio Ponti, Achille Castiglioni, and more.

 The Sambonet Silver Plated 5-Piece Place Setting was first designed in 1932 by Italian master architect Gio Ponti and re-edited in 2000. It is one of the company’s best-selling lines of flatware; $200 at Sambonet and it’s also available for $230 at Barney’s New York.
The Sambonet Silver Plated 5-Piece Place Setting was first designed in 1932 by Italian master architect Gio Ponti and re-edited in 2000. It is one of the company’s best-selling lines of flatware; $200 at Sambonet and it’s also available for $230 at Barney’s New York.
When Italian master Ettore Sottsass designed the Nuovo Milano Cutlery for Alessi in 1987, he wanted it to be “as smooth as an ocean rock” with rounded edges and the rise and fall shape of each handle. It won the XVIth Compasso d’Oro industrial design award in 1991. The polished 5-piece set is $91 at Hive.
Above: When Italian master Ettore Sottsass designed the Nuovo Milano Cutlery for Alessi in 1987, he wanted it to be “as smooth as an ocean rock” with rounded edges and the rise and fall shape of each handle. It won the XVIth Compasso d’Oro industrial design award in 1991. The polished 5-piece set is $91 at Hive.
From Italian brand Mepra, the Dolcevita Flatware in Vintage Pewter has, as retailer March puts it, “a classic scalloped edge and modern finish.” Made in Italy, the set is $72 at March.
Above: From Italian brand Mepra, the Dolcevita Flatware in Vintage Pewter has, as retailer March puts it, “a classic scalloped edge and modern finish.” Made in Italy, the set is $72 at March.
The Iittala Piano 5-Piece Place Setting was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano in 1998 has an easy shape, rounded corners, and comes in high polished stainless steel; $124.99 for a set on Amazon.
Above: The Iittala Piano 5-Piece Place Setting was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano in 1998 has an easy shape, rounded corners, and comes in high polished stainless steel; $124.99 for a set on Amazon.
The Caccia Cutlery Flatware Set was designed by architect Livio Castiglioni (older brother of Achille Castiglioni) in 1938 and presented at the 1940 Triennale and was reissued in 18/10 stainless steel by Alessi; $35.89 for the 5-piece set on Amazon.
Above: The Caccia Cutlery Flatware Set was designed by architect Livio Castiglioni (older brother of Achille Castiglioni) in 1938 and presented at the 1940 Triennale and was reissued in 18/10 stainless steel by Alessi; $35.89 for the 5-piece set on Amazon.
The Alessi Colombina Cutlery Set was designed by Rome-based husband and wife team Doriana Mandrelli and Massimiliano Fuksas to “introduce an incisive and contemporary interpretation to the classic rituals of the table,” as retailer Hive says. The 5-piece set is $62 at Hive.
Above: The Alessi Colombina Cutlery Set was designed by Rome-based husband and wife team Doriana Mandrelli and Massimiliano Fuksas to “introduce an incisive and contemporary interpretation to the classic rituals of the table,” as retailer Hive says. The 5-piece set is $62 at Hive.
The Citterio 98 5-Piece Place Setting is part of the 1998 collection by Italian designer Antonio Citterio for Iittala. Each piece is intended to rest neatly in the palm of the hand while in use; $85 for the set at YLiving.
Above: The Citterio 98 5-Piece Place Setting is part of the 1998 collection by Italian designer Antonio Citterio for Iittala. Each piece is intended to rest neatly in the palm of the hand while in use; $85 for the set at YLiving.
While it’s no longer in production, Massimo and Lella Vignelli’s Sasaki Basic Flatware set is worth a mention (you can still find pieces or full sets on Replacements or eBay). It was designed by the duo in 1987 for Japanese company Sasaki. Photograph from the RISDI Museum. You can also find the set among our picks in 10 Easy Pieces: Everyday Stainless Steel Flatware.
Above: While it’s no longer in production, Massimo and Lella Vignelli’s Sasaki Basic Flatware set is worth a mention (you can still find pieces or full sets on Replacements or eBay). It was designed by the duo in 1987 for Japanese company Sasaki. Photograph from the RISDI Museum. You can also find the set among our picks in 10 Easy Pieces: Everyday Stainless Steel Flatware.
Designed by Achille Castiglioni for Alessi in 1982, the Dry Line Cutlery collection is designed with flat steel bars as handles and matte finish stainless steel. It has been described as “the reinterpretation of classic Italian tableware in a contemporary key.” The 5-piece set is $62.95 at the MoMA Design Store.
Above: Designed by Achille Castiglioni for Alessi in 1982, the Dry Line Cutlery collection is designed with flat steel bars as handles and matte finish stainless steel. It has been described as “the reinterpretation of classic Italian tableware in a contemporary key.” The 5-piece set is $62.95 at the MoMA Design Store.
From Italian brand Mepra, the Due Stainless Steel Flatware Set is one of the more recent takes on Italian flatware. It comes in 8 different finishes and is $61 for a 4-piece set from Mepra.
Above: From Italian brand Mepra, the Due Stainless Steel Flatware Set is one of the more recent takes on Italian flatware. It comes in 8 different finishes and is $61 for a 4-piece set from Mepra.
Another design by Gio Ponti for Sambonet, the Conca Stainless Steel 5-Piece Place Setting is $85 at Sambonet. It’s also one of our picks in 10 Easy Pieces: Quirky Sculptural Flatware.
Above: Another design by Gio Ponti for Sambonet, the Conca Stainless Steel 5-Piece Place Setting is $85 at Sambonet. It’s also one of our picks in 10 Easy Pieces: Quirky Sculptural Flatware.

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