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Tableware that’s rich in design and distinction

A venerable cutlery-maker turns to today’s designer-in-demand

Tableware that’s rich in design and distinction

June 29 2011
Lucia van der Post

Christofle is an imposing old French company that makes some of the grandest cutlery and silverware around, the sort that, if you’re lucky, you get given as wedding presents and pass on to your children. Faced with the problem encountered by all such companies – how do you retain your links with the past and yet appeal to hip young things? – they turned to that designer-in-demand, Dutchman Marcel Wanders.

What they wanted was for him to imbue the brand with some of his own lyrical élan. He came up with the Garden of Eden collection, a range of cutlery that bears the DNA of both Christofle (the craftsmanship and quality) and Wanders (the addition of a touch of the poetic and the romantic to everyday objects).

Wanders loved the challenge: “It was a pleasure to work for such a house, to immerse myself in its history, to get in touch with a slower way of things. For Garden of Eden, we sat around a table and pondered calmly, letting it be, letting the dough stand. Our work rhythm was the antithesis of today’s lifestyle.”

You might think it hard to do something original with cutlery, but Wanders has done it, embellishing the pieces with intricate engraving – leaves, flowers, curls. The skills needed to achieve this are extraordinary and Christofle and Wanders have worked on it for three and a half years before perfecting the collection. The pieces come in three finishes: silver plated, with partial gold plate, and with full gold plate. Solid silver is also available to order.

A dinner knife costs £84, while the fork and the spoon are each £73 (pictured, in silver plate). The main UK stockist for the collection is the Christofle department at Harrods.