Paola Navone's Taste vs. West Elm's NeoBaroque
The Look for Less -- Paola Navone's Taste vs. West Elm's NeoBaroque: Designers have taken the florid, ornately carved patterns of Baroque and Rococo furniture designs and flattened them to stark silhouettes. Here the trend is translated into tableware: Italian design superstar Paola Navone's 2009 Taste collection, and design-democratizer West Elm's subsequent NeoBaroque dishes.
One of the pictures above is Navone's Taste dinner plate, which she designed for Reichenbach, a prestigious porcelain manufacturer in Germany. It costs almost $80. Per plate. The other is West Elm's NeoBaroque dish made of stoneware in Portugal; a set of four costs $32.
Which is which, and why does one cost nearly 10 times more than the other? Keep reading ...
Porcelain is made from kaolin, a white clay that retains its color in the kiln. It is fired at temperatures in excess of 2,370 degrees in two stages -- the first to harden the clay, the second to induce vitrification, which produces a smooth, glass-like finish. The finished plates are safe for use in the microwave oven and dishwasher, and they are chip-resistant.
Porcelain is more vitrified than stoneware, the material that West Elm uses in its NeoBaroque collection, top right. Stoneware differs from porcelain not only in its color -- which is more like oatmeal than the pure white of porcelain -- but also in the way it is fired. Stoneware vitrifies during a single firing at a lower temperature than porcelain requires. An easy way to tell them apart: Turn a piece upside down. If the bottom rim is a matte oatmeal color but the rest of the plate is glazed, it's stoneware.
-- David A. Keeps
Photo credits: Reichenbach, West Elm