During our trip to Milan, too many things fascinated me —in a positive way. Two products from the trip i choose to critique are the Sleek spoon designed by Castiglioni brothers and the Senza fine necklace by Lella e Massimo Vignelli.
Achille Giacomo Castiglioni’s Sleek spoon for jars was designed in 1962. The product took 30-40 years until it came into production in 1996 with Kraft, Alessi. The spoon was originally made for mayonnaise jar and it was an advertising object for Kraft. The spoon is 20 cm long and is made of polymethylmethacrylate, a transparent thermoplastic (acrylic glass or plexiglas are more familiar terms).
The function of the spoon is straightforward. Kraft wanted a promotional item for the company and I think the end product of the design and function of this spoon to be used primarily as an advertisement is overachieved and brilliant. The spoon is designed to scrape out the last bits of the contents in the jar whether it be peanut butter, mayonnaise, jam and most importantly for me, nutella chocolate. The spoon has a straight edge on one side to allow users to scrape the sides of the jar and remove the contents properly, whereas regular curved-edge spoons cannot. The bottom of the spoon is slightly flattened for easy access to the bottom corners and edges. The handle is flat but the back of the handle is indented to give the thumb a firm grip. Otherwise, the handle would get slippery. The spoon is practical for everyone. This spoon saves time and stress. Instead of wasting time trying to get the last bits of chocolate out of the jar with a regular spoon, the Sleek spoon gets the chocolate out easily and without frustration. All aspects of the design were thought out carefully and thoughtful.
The originality of the appearance is satisfying. It is not over-done. It’s casual and simple with still the necessary functions included. The spoon is attractive but not exciting to me. A variation in pattern might add to the look, however, any addition to what Castiglioni did may take away from the satisfying appearance. The size of the spoon is larger than most spoons, probably to reach the bottom of jars. But the size also adds an innovative touch to it. The feel of it is pleasing also as it is smooth with an extremely slightly gritty texture on inside of the spoon spreader. The simplicity of the spoon is appreciable. Different colors of the spoon are available and the solidity of color in each spoon unites the group of spoons as one product. It definitely is “sleek”.
The communication and language of spoon is in but not illuminating. The style and craft of the spoon seems modern and recent, although it was created in 1960. Considering the time period in which the spoon was designed, it was very innovative. It transmits modernity. It is amazing how this product is in production after being designed 50 years ago. While holding the spoon I think it feels a bit bulky and goofy to be using. But after using it I got used to it. There were only eight spoons left in the Alessi store the day that I bought it which reveals how popular and in-demand the product is still to this days. Back then it may have been popular for mayonnaise or jam, or maybe it still is, but from my understanding it now popular for Nutella. The way it is used for the same purpose but with multiple contents reveals the practicality and convenience of the spoon.
The price is absolutely affordable. A spoon is a permanent object unlike paper plates and cups. With all that was discussed about this product, I would not only by two spoons, but I’d buy 3+. It looks so convenient, and it is so convenient. I liked how it was something that I could buy. Most objects that I liked were out of my budget. This was only 5 euros. I was browsing online and you could even purchase it for 3.50 euros. It is a brilliant design for an affordable price.
The way this product is advertised online is through pictures of the spoon and pictures of the spoon in the jar. I think the simple presentation is effective. People can see the picture of the spoon in the jar and understand the function of the product. The only complaint I have is the single size. I would like to see the spoon in different sizes for different jar sizes.
When we visited the San Lorenzo store the host speaker said things about design that I plan to apply in my career. He said that “it is not necessary to always invent. Sometime it is better to rediscover and renew”. And that “you have to start from the knowledge of the past”. I feel that these two approaches will make a significant difference in creating art because the works produced at San Lorenzo do seem to have more value and meaning due to the history of the piece and the process of how it was made. I enjoyed the visit to San Lorenzo; it provided me with valuable insight on design jewelry. As for the product I picked..
The other product I chose was the Senza fine necklace by Lella and Massimo Vignelli. This silver necklace was designed and produced in 1992 through San Lorenzo. The function of the necklace is the way that in its original state it is coiled into two connecting circles but then, the parts of the coil is adjustable and becomes almost a wave of silver coil. The necklace is divided into fragments that twist and turn to various positions of your choice. (The top middle is my favorite!). The necklace is creative, unique, original, and able to be functioned as a necklace in various way. The way that the necklace is constructed so that the joints can turn in such ways seems complicated. Yet, the presentation of the necklace is simple but keeps me interested.
The designers somehow made 7+ necklaces into 1. The idea is super impressive and inspirational. “Technical details, dedicated attention to fastenings and joints, intuition and a profound awareness of the material are only a few of the skills that Ciro brings to his collaboration with architects and designers that make San Lorenzo such an exceptional company”. I agree!
The way the joints moved as I tried to create a certain shape was sometimes not what I wanted. The joints of the necklace seemed to guide themselves. As the host said, “let the necklace be what it is”. I enjoyed the movement of the necklace, the fluidity of this solid metal. I liked how it sat still on the table one moment but was moving in all sorts of ways in another moment once a student picked it up to discover the special touch of this seemingly normal circlular necklace. The function of this necklace is captivating and thought-provoking. On the other hand, I personally did not like the thickness of the necklace. I thought that as an accesory it looked heavy.
The language of the jewelry fit the style of the culture. The necklace is relatively modern. It is innovative. It provides a solution. Referring back to what the host said, the designers of this necklace did exactly that— they rediscovered and reinvented. From an ordinary object the designers reinvented the functions of the object into a workable jewelry piece. The owner can adjust the necklace to a style of his/her choice. When I first saw the necklaceI thought it appeared very industrial and house object-like. After seeing what the necklace is capable of doing I immediately had a change in impression.
The price is expensive in my standards. I think that this product is reproducable thus can be less expensive. One necklace costs 1400 euros. The idea is worth the price. But for me, I would not prefer to wear that necklace unless it was thinner in diameter.
The presentation of the product was seducing. I liked how the necklace showed itself off. Although it is expensive it seems that an average consumer would purchase it. I personally feel that at this time, the necklace could be further manipulated in pattern, texture, and size.