We know the value of working with partners and the amazing sparks that can fly when creatives collaborate – it’s intrinsic to Design-Nation’s history and the ongoing success of our portfolio of designer-makers that so much is achieved in partnership. London-based tableware designer Melanie Roseveare of Melody Rose is a great example of this. He own ranges are beautiful and distinctive, but she’s also created some pretty special work with others.
Melanie’s latest project is for a very starry restaurant. We found out more.
Design-Nation asked: Some of your tableware and designs are collaborations with museums. Do you design in a different way in a collaboration, as compared to the way you approach your own ranges?
Melanie Roseveare answered: Working on collaborations is quite similar to working on my own ranges. The major difference is working within the parameters that are set by the project, while working on my own ranges means I have full rein.
D-N: Tell us about the process of collaborating and how you come up with concepts that make your partners happy.
M.R: A good deal of consideration goes into the research, design and creation of each of the pieces. I always test ideas out very early on in the process to make sure I’m on the right track. Once early ideas are tested out, I’ll create draft samples with a few choices to ensure we all love the concept and there’s scope for change. I always use the same attention to detail in the design process to create high quality pieces and ensure the finished product lives up to the concept.
D-N: What are the challenges and exciting things of this way of working?
M.R: I think one of the most exciting parts of working this way is the input and new points of view. Working independently can be isolating, which means collaborations can bring new ideas and angles. Of course, this can also be a challenge.
D-N: Your tableware is now at Bjorn Frantzen’s brasserie Astoria in Stockholm. Bjorn is a Michelin starred chef. Please tell us about how this project came about and how you developed the collection.
M.R: Bjorn Frantzen had bought a small number of bowls and plates previously so already knew and liked the Melody Rose design aesthetic and quality. In late 2019, they got in touch to discuss this new restaurant, which is a sensitive renovation of a theatre dating to the 1870s. Of course when the pandemic hit, everything was put on hold, so it was incredibly exciting when they were back in touch to say the project was a ‘go’!
I felt very honoured that Bjorn’s design team chose a number of my key designs from the Melody Rose range. Each table is set with a selection of the 8 designs they’ve chosen. I designed a special backstamp for these pieces.
I had a lovely message from Stefan Gissberg, the director of the Frantzén Group. He said, “We never leave anything to chance. When we create our restaurant concepts, every detail has been thought about, whether it’s a fine dining experience for a small group or an international brasserie with a large lounge and bar. The beautiful and fun plates from Melody Rose are a talking point and a tongue in cheek experience. We wanted every guest to come in contact with the plates, so we use them as both bread and dessert plates and have chosen 8 different motifs to create a dynamic table setting.”
Early on in the project, they asked to feature a number of Melody Rose designs as framed artwork for the walls. I didn’t actually know if this would go ahead until the restaurant opened in March 2021. If you dine at Brasserie Astoria at Table 80 you’ll find the walls decorated with Melody Rose designs including my newest ‘The Fighting Spirit’, which features my father as a young boxer.
D-N: How was the communication about the project during the pandemic?
M.R: It was actually very straightforward with few meetings and emails, really business as usual though, of course not face to face.
D-N: Have you been to the restaurant yet, or do you plan to go?
M.R: I have not had a chance to eat at the restaurant yet due to travel restrictions but I definitely will be going in spring 2022.
D-N: Any more exciting things in the pipeline?
M.R: There’s an exciting new commission for some bespoke tableware for a new restaurant opening in 2022, but I can’t say more than that for the moment.
D-N: Where we may see your designs right now?
M.R: Bespoke designs available at The Sir John Soane’s museum and also at The Wallace Collection including a new mug design linked to their current Frans Hall exhibition. Melody Rose main collections at www.melodyrose.co.uk and other online shops as well as a selection of retailers.