Coloured glass updated

Coloured glassware is having a renaissance. Long discarded as a relic of bygone excess, paired with modern tableware it infuses an airy elegance to the contemporary table. Better, it offers warmth and originality often missing in a typically monochrome minimalism. It is therefore no surprise that Nordic and Japanese homes alike are embracing this fresh new take on simplicity.

SGHR Cafe in Aoyama, Tokyo

Modern Japanese tablesetting is all about playful sophistication. Admiration for the aesthetic of the two Michelin starred restaurant L’Effervescent led to my discovery of glassware company Sugahara. Founded in 1932, SGHR applies traditional Japanese design techniques to create elegant and bold design for the modern Japanese table. Their hand blown glass collection includes organic colourful shapes and magnificent bubbled plates for everyday to fine dining. Their store is hidden in a small side street of Tokyo’s trendy Aoyama district and includes a café frequented by well heeled locals.

SGHR Glassware with Muji plates

The coloured glassware revitalisation is also very much alive on the Scandinavian peninsula and in Finland. Translucent and clean, glassware is part of a major colour sweep that challenges the notion of black, white and gray as the fundament of a simple northern aesthetics. Previously all white homes are now being painted blue, black and pink. Tableware is a part of this trend giving nordic homes a modern spin, without sacrificing the clean lines and easy atmosphere.

Finnish Alvar Aalto vases for Iittala

The revitalisation of coloured glass was first seen in reference to the classics, such as Alvar Aalto´s “Savoy”. Perhaps the worlds most iconic modern vase, it was designed by the Finnish Architect for Helsinki´s Savoy Hotel that opened in 1937. The wave-like shape was in fact inspired by the dress of Sami woman. The Sami being a Finno-Ugric people living in a vast area of Northern Finland, Sweden and Norway known for reindeer herding and their beautiful multicoloured garments. Glassware company Iittala, also from Finland, has kept the vase in production in a large spectrum of colours, with green currently being the hero of social media sightings.

A more recent Nordic classic is the Cocoon vase created by Peter Svarrer for Danish Holmegaard. It took him three full years to perfect how this classic shape catches the light, bringing a sense of airy elegance to its surroundings. The Cocoon has now been expanded into a collection that includes a wide range of sizes and a series of lanterns.

Holmegaard Cocoon vase

Tip: Iittala´s Kivi range of small candle holders comes in an impressive range of colours and is perfect for varying the mood of the room from relaxed to romantic or festive.

Would you like to read more?

Norwegian Classics; the new heros of Nordic mid-century design?

Dine on wood; woodware for the modern table


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: