By Laura Gelder

Designer ideas for tableware can bring a touch of beauty to onboard dining. Julie Baxter and Laura Gelder check out some of the latest show-stoppers

For tableware suppliers, WTCE provides an opportunity for design teams to turn on the style and get creative with collections that inspire and innovate.

Kaelis, for example, took its inspiration this year from ‘designs that appeal to the senses’. The Sense of Space range has space-saving in mind and uses new matt-coloured finishes and stone-look plastics. The Sense of Rhythm collection draws on geometic shapes and showcases new rose gold and copper tones as well as coloured and printed glassware. And organic natural shapes and prints were centre-stage for the Sense of Being collection.The team sought to reduce the number of tableware items needed with its Sense of Infinity portfolio, including a multi-purpose bowl and plate with a bridge plate for high-end dining.

Creative manager Manoj Pridhanani says: “Our senses help us comunicate, feel, smell, and visualise the world we live in, and it is a combination of these senses that give rise to the emotions that allow us to experience a moment. Textures, colours, shapes, materials and functions come together. We reflect this by using elegant shapes to create modern service concepts. We’ve used
lightweight durable porcelain with a brighter pearl tone and materials with improved resistance to washing and thermal shock. The goal is to provide top-quality onboard and match high-end dining fashion trends with bespoke designs and branding options.”

SPIRIANT put its focus on premium dining too, and showcased a series of six tableware designs under the banner Islands in the Sky. Each was designed to be a stand-alone concept but is available and compatible together for those airlines which want to combine elements from each range. Eva Hotz, product manager for premium experience SPIRIANT, says: “There are many faces of premium and we aim to help the customer define their premium approach to suit their passenger. The Islands in the Sky series was inspired by geometrical shapes and all combine classical tableware parts with innovative products. Our Jamaica series with organic shapes has a real wow factor.”

(Pictured above right) Buzz has championed initiatives to bring high-end retail brands onboard with its Alessi collaboration for Delta

Holistic success

SPIRIANT recently won an iF Design award for its Étagère premium concept. The bone china set combines versatility and aesthetics, to create a holistic meal experience where visual appeal and functional requirements are combined.

The bone china is the finest porcelain, with thinner and transparent walls, making it both elegant and lightweight. The modular design of serving plate, smaller plate and bowl can be arranged in several combinations and stacked, making it versatile and interactive. It can also be used in lounges or bars.

Food moments

At deSter the designers were focused on ‘making food moments special onboard’. Stef Van de Perre, managing director, said: “People in the front cabin know dining trends – they frequent some of the best restaurants in the world. We are trying to take those trends onboard so we no longer develop collections but offer a range of ideas to create a mix and match concept, featuring exciting colour and texture combinations. Gone are the days of the classic table setting and strict etiquette!

“Our Muse tableware juxtaposes traditional luxury materials with unexpected elements to create surprising, sensory and tactile experiences.”

The team showcased a new textured take-out coffee cup, for example, which could be offered to passengers on short flights, extending their experience off the plane.

“We look at how we can make food moments feel special, says Van de Perre. “Each course should be unique and surprising, engage the customer and give them memorable moments onboard.”

deSter also offers E.lite bone, a ceramic made from three types of clay with the look and feel of real bone china, for a fine dining experience, 30% lighter and with 50% more stacking capability.

Filip Fransen, design director at dester, adds: “We now have a director of experience who looks right across the onboard experience, and we collaborate with industry experts and chefs at our design centre in Belgium to brainstorm innovative ideas.” These collaborations lead to new designs, such as a glassware range developed with sommeliers to elevate the aromas and optimise the flavour of wines being served in the air.

Innovations are also being applied in Economy where the Absoutely One solution has been developed to offer the same restaurant-feel as its predecessor, with more flexibility and size options. Neo Bistro can be assembled in front of the customer to create a sense of theatre. It comprises lots of small plates in pebble shapes with a natural, organic feel.

Fransen explains: “Stepping away from regular rectangular shaped trays makes a statement. It can be offered in many colours and customised in terms of shape and size to suit each airline. With this concept airlines can lift the whole dining experience by eliminating one set tray from their service.”

Gispol’s in-house design team aims to combine function, reliability and aesthetic. A spokesman says: “Our designers take inspiration from everywhere, every small detail can serve has a starting point for creating an all new tableware set. Being proud of our Portuguese heritage we draw a lot of our inspirations from our culture, our colours and architecture. We try to translate these into ideas/concepts which relate to the airline’s identity as well, creating a meal service which will, at the same time, stand out and be in perfect harmony with the food.” •