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tea cup and saucer
Considering the clean, modern lines of this wafer-thin tea service, it’s something of a surprise to discover that it was designed in 1928. Munich architect Wolfgang von Wersin named it Lotus, after the Far Eastern symbol for purity, and Nymphenburg (the premier name in porcelain) has been producing it ever since (plate, $180, cup and saucer, $410, creamer $480, sugar $720, teapot $1,020, by special order; cooperhewitt.org/shop, 212-849-8355).
These delightfully quirky papier mâché birds with their spindly legs are handmade in Haiti ($52; georgiatapertliving.com, 212-334-7969); Dane Ole Jensen’s rather birdlike plastic-and-rubber thermos has a double-walled glass liner to keep a litre of liquid hot or cold ($85; roseandradish.com, 415-864-4988); and the guru of minimalism, British architect John Pawson, designed the lean ebony salad servers ($120; matin-gallery.com, 310-788-0055).
Ralph Lauren recaptures the glamorous world of the 1930s with Celeste, the slim crystal toasting flute, and Annelise, the stately black-cased crystal candlesticks (flutes, $295 a pair, candlesticks, $495 each; ralphlaurenhome.com, 888-475-7674). For a sexy flourish, skip the classic cream or white candles and go straight for 12-inch black tapers ($9 for 2; creativecandles.com, 800-237-9711)
Inspired by faded antique fabrics they found in old houses in France, the designers Eric Gonzalez and Erwan de Rengervé, of Polymode, created these hand-thrown dishes, decorated with a subtle play of leaves and flowers (bread plate, cereal and soup bowls, $75 each, dinner plate, $95; bergdorfgoodman.com; 212-753-7300).
steak knives
With their ebony handles and sleek design, Tarrerias-Bonjean’s steak knives are—forgive us—cutting edge. And the Claus Jensen and Henrik Holbaek (a.k.a. Eva Solo) carving set, made from a single piece of blade steel, will bring cool minimalism to any traditional holiday table (steak knives, $67 each, carving set, $167; roseandradish.com, 415-864-4988).
soy sauce
This squat little soy sauce cruet works using suction: Dip the hollow stopper into the bottle, cover the tiny hole at the top with your finger, draw out, and drizzle soy sauce by releasing your finger ($50; easternaccents.com, 978-443-4308). A smart dispenser demands great soy. Try the artisanal Kishibori Shoyu that’s fermented for one year in 100-year-old barrels ($15.95, 12.1 oz; surlatable.com, 800-243-0852).
porcelain plates
French designer Pierre Charpin’s original sketches are captured on these four porcelain plates by Craft-Limoges. Charpin’s work has been described as artfully simple, and the tiny train tracks running over these dishes are simply delightful ($865 set of 4; cooperhewitt.org/shop, 212-849-8355).
Carl Auböck II was a leading figure of Austrian Modernism and created these graceful brass bookends in 1948; they’re still meticulously made by hand in his Vienna workshop ($685; cooperhewitt.org/shop, 212-849-8355).
These Apothecary Jars have a great old-fashioned flair but are not without modern utility: Air tight lids preserve herbs and spices, while the wide range of size fits everything from toothpicks to tagliatelle (small to extra-large, $20 to $36 for 2; dwr.com, 800-944-2233).
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