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updated: 3/26/2012 8:20 AM

From artsy to functional, great designs at housewares show

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  • Lunares has added color to its artist palette trays.

       Lunares has added color to its artist palette trays.
    BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer

  • The Anna Gong cake, candy or cookie plate is a new Alessi product.

      The Anna Gong cake, candy or cookie plate is a new Alessi product.
    Courtesy Alessi

  • No matter how much storage you have, folding up like the Anna Gong is always nice.

      No matter how much storage you have, folding up like the Anna Gong is always nice.
    Courtesy Alessi

  • The Philadelphia Museum of Art commissioned flatware reminiscent of a Piet Mondrian painting in its collection.

       The Philadelphia Museum of Art commissioned flatware reminiscent of a Piet Mondrian painting in its collection.
    BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer

  • The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents teapots with color -- a big story this year at the International Home + Housewares Show -- as well as interesting form.

       The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents teapots with color -- a big story this year at the International Home + Housewares Show -- as well as interesting form.
    BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer

 

Great new tabletop designs for your home turned up at the recent International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago.

We found Mondrian-inspired flatware at the Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibit, a whimsical cake or candy dish from an old favorite, Alessi, and color, color color in trays for cheese and other treats at Lunares.

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That brings up a serious trend. Color is everywhere, and no one seems to be coordinating. You see all different kinds from primaries to the more muted shades like those Lunares features.

"None of my colors go together. They're not mixy matchy, but they work, they're happy," said Nima Oberai of San Francisco-based Lunares. "Green with blue with red with yellow with amethyst. Last year we were cool, this year bright. Live large. Go for it."

The seven colors are new for the artist palettes, which Oberai calls the gift for the artsy friend who has everything. For years she made it in silver, and that version is available at the Art Institute of Chicago shop.

The more colorful cast aluminum covered with porcelain retails for $125.

"I just love these colors. They are for people sick of green in pea or olive. Color should make you stop in your tracks and be happy. People are just blah in this economy and color puts a twinkle in your eye," she said.

Check out lunareshome.com, although most colors seem currently out of stock.

The Philadelphia museum's products are inspired by art in its permanent collection. Thus the flatware obviously ties to Piet Mondrian's famous modern look. The price is $40 a place setting, and the flatware is just being introduced. Visit philamuseum.org.

If you don't find something irresistible in the products from the Italian company Alessi, you aren't trying.

The Anna Gong cake or cookie or candy stand caught our eye.

It's a tribute to a folding cake stand that was an Alessi best-seller in the 1960s. Designer Allessandro Mendini has revisited the classic design and added a twist by incorporating the face of another best-selling Alessi product, the playful "Anna G" corkscrew.

It is stainless steel and retails for $250. Several Chicago area stores carry Alessi products.

Visit Alessi.com.

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