All kinds of new approaches to cooking and kitchenware were on offer in the renewed COOK+DESIGN exhibit at Maison & Objet in Paris this year, and many of the most eye-catching designs were also often the most functional. An evident theme throughout was "nomadic" kitchenware; utensils, knives, serveware and more that encourage cooks to take their passion on the road—or at the least, make storage and transportation easier.
Forge de Laguiole
The new series of foldable knives by French company Forge de Laguiole are rooted in the traditions of the southern Aubrac region, where the best beef comes from, and where generations of blacksmiths have built the reputation of the Laguiole village—which has become associated with the finest knife-making. Taking advantage of ancient know-how, the entire production of each knife is made on-site. Since its launch in 1988, the company has worked with famous designers, as it started with Philippe Stark. Focusing not only on the steel of the blade, but also on the material of the handle, Forge de Laguiole's charm is in the details, like the bee engraving on the knife fold. Among the 2013 collection of exclusive pieces—many made with red coral or Aubrac cow horns handles—the highlight is one with a handle made from camel bone, inlaid with rhinestones and a skull in lieu of the traditional bee. Its damascus steel blade, offering an iridescent effect, is sculpted in a wave.
Malle W. Trousseau
New French company, Malle W. Trousseau, stood out with a trunk that is reminiscent of the old-time "trousseau"—a wedding gift that was given to brides, and contained the basics for beginning a household. Designed to last a lifetime, the Malle W. Trousseau case comprises 43 tools selected from the finest manufacturers and craftsmen. The three-tiered piece is divided into categories: cooking, cutting and containers. The cutting tray offers items such as a red, soft leather apron; a series of Japanese professional blades along with a Corsican rough knife; a grinding stone; vegetable peelers (including a special tomato peeler); a copper ladle and skimmer and the highly useful stainless steel soap that's designed to wash off garlic and onion odors. While it's big (perhaps not the easiest thing to carry around for everyday use) it is a smart way to store and potentially transport just about anything and everything a cook needs.
Containers are still in theme with the French company Monbento. The best-selling original rectangular lunchbox created in 2010 (one year after the company itself was founded) has been completed with several additional boxes and practical accessories, creating a comprehensive range of elegant sets, which all feature the same soft touch and matte finish. The newcomers now include a larger square box—twice the size of the original model—which can hold up to 1.7 liters. Also on offer this year is a double-walled bowl designed to keep its contents warm for two hours, while the outside surface remains cool, meaning no burnt hands. Slipped neatly into the bowl's cover is a Japanese-style spoon. All Monbento boxes can be heated in the microwave.
Finnish brand Tonfisk's Newton milk and sugar set isn't new (it dates back to 2001) however, it is still so well-designed and timeless that it's worth a mention. Newton is a smart and simply way to serve the complements to coffee and tea. The gravity-based mechanism keeps the sugar bowl horizontal on top of the milk pot when pouring the liquid, making tea time logical, easy and—to top it off—aesthetically satisfying.
Malle W. Trousseau trunk courtesy of the brand, all others by Isabelle Doal