MILAN — Just because the U.S. abandoned space travel for the last few decades doesn’t mean that you need to. Two sets from Italian studio Diesel Living in partnership with Seletti use themes from space travel (the 1960s space race, specifically) to create handsome tableware.
Many of the high points of space travel missed me as I was growing up. Looking at Wikipedia now, I can see that the closest manned mission to the Moon won’t be until 2023, when I’ll be close to 40 years old. Missions to Mars are even farther off, with NASA predicting they may be ready by 2035. It seems like an eternity to wait. I can picture Carl Sagan spinning in his grave, but at least the cultural interest is there in things like movies, science fiction and in designs like DL’s, which are both exhibiting at Milan Design Week.
The first, Cosmic Dinner, takes images of planets, moons and other heavenly bodies and puts them on porcelain plates. They’re joined by glasses that are blown to appear as though they are meteors and by salt and peppershakers that look like 1960s rockets. A spaceman, complete with gold-mirrored visor, takes the form of a vase. It’s very retro chic, but for me the nostalgia comes in the form of the plates. I don’t know if NASA still does this, but when I was a kid they would mail high-resolution photographs of planets to anyone who asked. I had many of these lining my bedroom wall. The plates are lovely.
The next set, MACHINE, moves our view from the cosmic down to the works of man. Plates, bowls, cups, and candlesticks take on the look of porcelain gears, cogs, pistons and other objects I recognize but can’t put a name to because I never attended shop class. It’s hard to separate my impressions of this set from Cosmic Dinner, but I don’t really want to. I like to think of these as the tools that will bring us to the planets pictured in the dinner set. They have more power as items that suggest potential, even fiction, than ones that are pulled from a factory floor on plain ol’ Earth. It’s fantastic that porcelain can look so industrial, like having a fine dinner with Nitzer Ebb.
Bill Rodgers is the Managing Editor of cfile.daily.
Do you love or loathe these works of contemporary ceramics? Let us know in the comments.