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Mario Bellini's Dune tray for Kartell

February 2, 2010 |  7:34 am
20090423_KArtell bellini tray latimes09_0189

Is it a slice of swimming pool ice or a slab of lemon Jell-O? I first spotted these striking serving trays at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan last April, where they were displayed to appear as if they were being carried by cardboard cutout waiters. Now they are widely available at Kartell stores (including the Los Angeles showroom at 313 N. Robertson Blvd.) and a host of modern design e-commerce sites.

The Dune tray, named for its rippled appearance, was created by the eminent Italian architect Mario Bellini, who set the trend for dining chairs with his 1977 design Cab, a metal skeleton completely sheathed in leather.

DUNE_New_gruppoBellini's innovative approach to working with polycarbonate, a shatter-resistant plastic often used for outdoor glasses, was to give the material as much visual depth as possible. 

The tray's uneven surface is just an optical illusion: Between the smooth top and bottom, the translucent plastic material is textured. This also produces a play of light that's a treat for in-the-sun entertaining. In addition to clear and smoke, it comes in five vibrant colors shown here.

The small version, $83, is just over 18 by 12 inches; the large, $113, is 21.7 by 15.2 inches. Neither come with handles, which may keep the integrity of the minimalist design intact, but does make carrying it a little bit trickier. 

-- David A. Keeps

Photo credits: Top, Franco Forci / For The Times. Product shot, Kartell