Those who follow us every wee, know that, a few months ago, we published an interview with Marta Sansoni, the famous designer from Florence who has collaborated with the most important tableware brands and designed some products from the Design Collection for IVV.
For this reason, given the importance that product design has for us and for our customers, we have decided to continue the positive path and interviewing the masters of this sector; those who, on a daily basis, have to reinvent and rework an object, see it with different eyes, sometimes distort and then reassemble it.
In a certain sense, design is like art, a discipline in which the gaze focuses on certain details, shadows and lines that most of us do not notice and interpret them, turning a simple and everyday object into an innovative piece.
Today we chat with Daniele Ardissone, designer of Pinti who recently launched some new collections of young and innovative cutlery lines.
Welcome Daniele, tell us a little about your journey and how you got into Pinti team
I met Pinti while I was studying at university with a specialization in product design at Politecnico di Milano. At that time we had to do an internship and the University proposed me Pinti since my specialization was in the household and tableware branch. Since then, this union has never ended. At the beginning, I developed my degree thesis and, even before graduation, I started as an external collaborator and then was hired in 2015. There was, in recent years, also a parenthesis in France at Inuit where, always thanks to Pinti, I also got to know the world of porcelain.
Many people are not familiar with the usefulness of some products such as, for example, the fish knife or dessert cutlery. Tell us a little about some typical details of these objects: the blades, the shape, etc.
Everything starts from the mise en place. The fish knife, for example, is more than a tool for cutting. It has more the function of a shovel as it does not have a real blade but is used to fillet the fish. Let's imagine the classic baked sea bream which needs to be removed from the bones and bones. Either way, this type of knife is suitable for soft meats.
As for the dessert cutlery, in the traditional mise en place, they are very similar to table cutlery but smaller and are placed according to the type of dessert. In other contexts or countries, the three-pronged fork is used because it is more suited to pastry. In this case, one of the prongs (left) is more prolonged or widened and serves as a "blade" to separate or cut the cake.
There tend to be lines created for catering and lines more suitable for domestic use. For example, we note that the restaurants that are among our customers are more likely to choose classic lines with a slightly retro taste like Ellade (in Osteria Gucci in Florence) or Audrey, very classic and luxury. When you think of a new line, what is the first thought that comes to your mind?
It really depends on the target whether this cutlery would be used for: catering or private home. For horeca, we start with a more complete range, with many more pieces, while for retail we can start from the classic quatern plus, possibly, the dessert cutlery which is enough. As for the style, again, it depends on the target. Of course, the material and processing affect the final price. Ellade is certainly a classic but timeless and forged model, therefore of high thickness and higher value also thanks to the processing that makes it heavier than a "sliced" cutlery for the retail market which is lighter. In the case of catering, the focus is on a classic or poorly decorated model.
For domestic lines, on the other hand, you can be more daring with color or with newer lines and materials. A fundamental aspect that makes these two types of cutlery different is their use: restaurant cutlery is suitable for intensive use while home cutlery is certainly more delicate precisely because it is less used and less "stressed" by washing in dishwasher.
As for the materials and finishes, however, there is a great deal of research in this case too, right? Today we can choose between forged, stone washed, silver plated, copper and others.
In Korea, for example, stone washed is super popular. What is the procedure for obtaining a stone washed effect material?
We must first distinguish between material and finish. The material is always 18/10 stainless steel and in some cases it can be an 18/0 or 18/5 variant. As for the finish, however, there are many variations. The stone wash is a finish that is applied to a finished cutlery to make it more vintage. We then start with the finished cutlery which is placed in a closed container like a concrete mixer together with stones. The container begins to spin and the stones, coming into contact with the surface, create this vintage effect. This effect can of course change according to the quantity and type of stones contained in the mixer .. each company has its own "secret"! This aesthetic effect does not affect the characteristic of the material and, moreover, the SW have the advantage of hiding the signs of wear compared to a smooth cutlery which, after some time using it, starts to have some scratches or signs. The SW remains the same over time and always looks new!
How has the design of cutlery evolved in recent years and what is the direction in which it will tend, in your opinion?
Cutlery is one of the most difficult items to design precisely because over time the ideal shapes for their purpose have been achieved. What you can work on is aesthetics. For example, in the early 2000s there was a tendency to create very long cutlery because in those days there was a trend in restaurants for very large plates; therefore, with the large plate, the cutlery had to adapt. This trend then came to an end and we focused on materials until, today, we use steel mixed with other materials. For example, the HIVE cutlery which is printed and has a plastic handle, despite everything, is also suitable for catering.
Another trend we are working on is related to disposable cutlery. In this case we are trying to eliminate plastic, working on thin and sustainable materials. Another trend that is developing in this particular historical context is that of perfecting the PVD coating so that it is antibacterial. In this case, in addition to giving an aesthetic touch, it will also be sanitized and safe from a bacterial point of view.
What can you say about chopsticks instead? We know that they are not all the same and that their use and form varies according to the country in which they are used (for example in China they are long for sharing food at the table).
While not our core business, we are working on new collections that will also include chopsticks (some already include them such as sushi satin PRO blue). More sticks will be out soon and, in addition, we are working on some rests that can be used for both the western and eastern market.
Is there a product you particularly care about? If so, which one?
Surely one of my first lines, "winter trees", that I released when I was collaborating as a consultant with the company. The company already had 80 lines at the time and was trying to develop a different line to give a more modern cut than in the past. Over the years, there has been the "Infinito" line, very complete and suitable for catering and which includes up to 15 pieces.
One last question, or rather, a personal curiosity: over the years have there been any customers who have asked you for a "bespoke" line?
For restaurants we can make all the customizations that ask us without problems. In the past I think there have been some very special requests from private customers. Obviously creating a cutlery from scratch has very high costs; therefore, a service of 100 pieces, for example, can cost a lot. I think it has been done once or twice in the history of the company. In one case, it seems to me that a request was made for an all-gold service ...
With the image of an entirely gold fork printed on our head, we close the interview talking, in the last 5 minutes, about the world situation that forces us to prolong the distance from our families and Italy, to adopt very strict anti-virus measures. Despite everything, we like to focus on our work, on new projects (and with Pinti we have some!) And direct our energies on being constructive and productive!
Therefore ... stay tuned!