Staying in is the new going out; we want to bring friends home to warmth and hospitality.
Being able to light intimate candles for dinner is one of the overlooked joys of shorter days. However, with the trend for simplicity, and sharing, we need to be careful not to make boring choices when it comes to our table settings. Minimalism throws the spotlight on the little things, so they’d better be good. We asked a handful of tastemakers how to be the host with the most as the nights draw in.
Antique glass and heirlooms
“We want to entertain in our own place now, to be eclectic and individual,” says Carolyn Quartermaine, artist of The Glade bar and restaurant at Sketch in Mayfair (sketch.london). “So get out key pieces, antique silverware, glass with candles, and mix up glassware and colours, plates from your grandmother and handpainted ceramics. I really love my antique pieces – 17th and 18th century crystal. I love old Baccarat but I mix it with Zara Home. The best kitchen shop is Summerill & Bishop (summerillandbishop.com) – they stock those found pieces from the French markets alongside contemporary things. We want to be inspired.”
Our decades-long love of tapas knows no bounds, and broadens into the worldwide trend for informal eating, sharing plates and enjoying casual dining from the Mediterranean, Asia and the Middle East.
“Trends this winter are about keeping it simple, but chic,” says Lyndy Redding, a whizz at table design and founder of the London caterer Absolute Taste (absolutetaste.com). “Use white linen but with rustic foliage, twigs and berries. Simple white china and pretty glass plates might be mixed with wooden boards for sharing.”
Redding picks out The White Company, Ikea and Zara Home for value, but says that designer brands can be surprisingly good value, too. “Nina Campbell has gorgeous glassware, as does William Yeoward,” she says. “Kelly Hoppen homewares are simple and chic and look fab mixed with whatever else you have.”
“Tableware pieces are either completely minimalist with a focus on the raw material, or the material is challenged to make the product more interesting,” says Amélie du Passage, founder of the design collection Petite Friture of London and Paris (petitefriture.com). “For example, the surface of our Succession tableware has been manipulated to create an interesting and playful, sensory experience.”
She suggests looking out for the quirky Swedish design duo Färg & Blanche, who created Succession around the look and feel of a cauliflower, and Mark Braun, who takes inspiration from the everyday and created Join, stackable tableware in terracotta and pastels.
Wedgwood (wedgwood.co.uk) is a fan of metallic accents, mixing up burnished gold, brass and bronze to add warmth and a soft light effect. “The gold details of Wedgwood’s Arris range is a simple way of incorporating the look,” says Antony Robson of Wedgwood. “Layer the chocolate and white backgrounds and play with the choices of round or hexagonal plates and different scales of design for contrast and style. Our Gilded Muse range adds warmth with burnished gold.”