08 February 2010

Alessi's Tonale has companion flatware

About a year ago, I wrote about Alessi's new tableware by David Chipperfield, Tonale. David Chipperfield is an English architect and Tonale is his homage to Giorgio Morandi's paintings. Giorgio was an Italian Cubist painter whose washed tones and simple shapes paved the way for the Minimalism that followed Cubism.

When you look at Morandi's Still Life above, it's pretty clear where Chipperfield drew his inspiration. Cubism was all about the exploration of shape and volume and how different objects' volumes interacted. Morandi washed everything in monotones and his still lifes have an easy grace to them. Chipperfield's Tonale for Alessi has that same easy grace.

The Tonale collection debuted in Milan last year and Alessi just unveiled Chipperfield's companion flatware for Tonale. It's a collection Chipperfield calls Santiago.

Good flatware is on my short list of things that make for a well-lived life. Good sheets, good pots and pans, good hand tools, good socks and a handful of other things round out my list. By good I mean quality and that rarely means cheap. In my book, good stuff is stuff you buy once and use for the rest of your life. This Santiago collection by Chipperfield for Alessi fits squarely into my list.

Santiago comes in two finishes; solid polished stainless and stainless with a gray handle. Though a full collection of serving pieces and everything else from hors d'oeuvres forks to dessert spoons is part of this Santiago collection, the proof is in the basics.

The fork.

The knife.

The spoon.

I love the idea of a three-tine fork and I really love how the knife appears to be all blade. It's wonderful stuff. What do you think? too modern? Too expensive? Or just right?

Look over the whole Santiago collection on Alessi's website.

Alessi has an ad on the right side of this page. Thank you Alessi. I have now fully disclosed any assumed but nonexistent conflicts of interest. I've been a fan of Alessi for as long as I can remember. That was true before they became an advertiser and will be true long after they leave.


  1. Alright, enough of that, you already made me go out and buy new sheets..

  2. If you don't know anything about "good" flatware, don't learn. And for god's sake never pick up a well-designed fork and feel how gracefully and effortlessly it balances in your hand.

  3. That's a good-looking set of flatware.

    It took me 7 years to collect my flatware - one setting at a time. I use it everyday, with not one iota of regret, but a great deal of appreciation.

    By the way? I am so not going anywhere shopping with you. I'm bad enough on my own.

  4. You're a woman after my own heart Kelly. One setting at a time for seven years. I am about a quarter of the way through assembling my set of good china and I am taking my sweet time. I swear, taking the "over time" approach to this sort of thing is ultimate preventive to impulse buying.

  5. I saw this flatware at the Chipperfield exhibit at the Design Museum in London last week. I bought eight settings. Ouch! But worth every pound. I'm removing my garbage disposal unit in their honor.

  6. Peter you are my hero. Wow. Eight settings! I'd be installing padded floors and instituting a sign out policy to go with the disposer removal.

  7. Okay. Love David Chipperfield, Love Tonale. Love Morandi. But you of all people know it's going to be a hard sell to get me away from my random collection of Vintage Sterling Flatware! And although I have one silver three-pronged fork and love the look, I'm not sure I love the function. Doesn't compare to my old Tiffany forks. There, said it. Lots of therapy was required to get that off my chest. Oh God, do you hate me???

  8. Never. You and your silver are in a league of your own. Seriously. It's the most thoughtful juxtaposition I've seen in ages. You have a beautifully, wonderfully modern kitchen and your vintage silver is a perfect ending to all of those clean lines. Speaking of your kitchen, how's your back splash saga? AND I've been meaning to tell you that you got me hooked on jasmine tea. Hooked!

  9. TBH I think that the beautiful crockery would look better with traditional (silver?) cutlery. Of the two finishes here, I prefer the grey handle.

    Is it possible to tell how well-balanced cutlery is by looking? And I'm not entirely sure that the knife is going to be functional. Will I be banging my knuckles on the plate? Hmmmm.

  10. Chookie: You are of the same mind as Sara. I'm not sure about the knuckle banging scenario, maybe Peter will come back with a review of this flatware.


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