Thursday, June 1, 2017

Block Chromatics

For years and years I have come across pieces of a dinnerware pattern called Chromatics made by the Block China company. I even got a full set, still in boxes, as part of a lot I bought from a design professor friend back in 2001. It's just so cool and always been a favorite, and oddly it has not been well-documented online.

Graphic, stackable and of obviously high quality, the Chromatics dinnerware pattern is one of the most stunning modern dinnerware patterns to come out of the late mid-century period. Introduced in 1970 by Block China, it consisted of boldly-colored sculptural pieces in porcelain that were designed to stack and fit together with their concave and convex edges. It also had coordinating stainless steel flatware and glassware, which are harder to find but if you get the set ... so good (I got the set). The pattern came in several complementary color combinations - Brown/Gold, Black/Beige, Blue/Green, Red/Lavender, and an unusual black/white pattern called Games.

Block Chromatics was designed by Gerald Gulotta, an American industrial designer and educator who, among other accomplishments, studied under modern master Eva Zeisel at Pratt and eventually took over teaching her ceramics class when she retired. The dinnerware was produced at Porzellanfabrik Arzberg in Germany, one of the great Bavarian porcelain manufacturers (you may be familiar with their wonderful white porcelain relief vases).

It represents an real evolution in thinking about the dinnerware service for 1970, and today you can see the spirit of it in other dinnerware patterns such as Hasami dinnerware from Japan. Architectural, sophisticated and and incredibly cool - it's as good a design choice today as it was in 1970!

Here are some pics of the great starter set we had at the store a while back, still in the box from Hudson's Department Store. A total wedding gift.