As a highlight of the exhibition Claesson Koivisto Rune + Mjölk we set out to design something unique for Mjölk. Having learnt about the philosophy of Mjölk and being encouraged by owners John Baker and Juli Daoust to choose handicraft techniques available in and around Toronto, we decided to design a milk and sugar set for your coffee or tea: A small porcelain pitcher, a wooden lid that doubles as a sugar bowl and a tray with one wood side for some cake and one metal side for the hot kettle. Very straight forward, but why these things?
Well, we were intrigued by the name Mjölk which is ’milk’ in Swedish. A kind of an odd name for a design store in Canada. So shouldn’t they then carry a milk pitcher, we thought? Kind of a silly reason for a design, perhaps. But like any endeavor, grand or small, you only need a reason.
Swedish life in general is rather informal. Society has done away with most old fashioned rituals and form of address. But we do drink a lot of coffee. In fact, Sweden ranks the world’s top consumer of it. In business and in private it is customary to serve coffee or ’fika’ whenever we meet. And it’s always very casually offered, but in its practice fika is in fact a kind of modern ceremony. Up to five or eight times a day.
We have of course encountered the strictly ritual Japanese tea ceremony. And from where we come from a first thought may well be that it is a very meticulous method to drink a small amount of hot fluid. But, that’s only if you don’t see the real purpose which is about everything else other than drinking, like elegance, refinement and the enhancement of the soul.
Without being too philosphical about it we thought it could be a good idea to propose a marriage between the eastern and western way of drinking coffee or tea with the help of decent serving tools; To add a dash of ceremony to our own casual ritual, says Mårten Claesson, Eero Koivisto and Ola Rune.