Les arts de la table
The very modern art of table setting
Table decoration and tableware are not just ornamental these days; they reflect a harmony between the aesthetic and the ergonomic, with the end purpose of generating culinary emotions.
Ci-dessus : Cécile Cayrol dans son atelier à Baumanière (Baux de Provence). @Pauline Daniel
A droite : L’art de la table au restaurant Dan B. (Ventabren). @Virginie Overssian
A new kind of table setting has developed in recent years, far removed from the gleaming white plates of our youth. Crockery tends more to the craft-made, rough-and-ready look, less smooth to the touch and with an organic feel. “Tableware can be really inspiring. Sometimes a potter’s creation can lead me to dream up the perfect dish to serve on it,” says Dan Bessoudo at the Dan B. restaurant in Ventabren. He takes great care over his table settings and the materials he uses, such as stoneware, wood, felt and jute. He commissioned Cannes-based artist Virginie Pernot to design a set of small black stoneware sculptures to decorate the tables. More and more chefs are joining forces with potters to design objects that chime with their cuisine and their restaurant’s image. “Pottery ware adds a humble touch that enhances the food we put on, it,” says Dan Bessoudo. Sourcing the tableware is becoming as important as sourcing the ingredients. Enjoyable encounters often lead to fruitful partnerships. Ceramist Cécile Cayrol has been working with Glenn Viel at l’Oustau de Baumanière for ten years now, and has set up her workshop on the restaurant premises. Taking inspiration from the place and the food, the pair work closely together to create bespoke tableware. Table settings have always served as a good foil for good food, and these days they also serve to spotlight the craft of their designers and makers.