Enduring Appeal of Contemporary Design-Keeping It Simple

Mary Jurek Design
Mary Jurek Design- NorthStar Collection

I am happy.  “Minimalist sensibility is in vogue again” design critics say. In this fast paced, over-informed, multi-tasking life of today who wouldn’t prefer to live with simple, functional and timeless design? It seems so evident to me, but admittedly I am a very practical gal.

Design styles tend to be cyclical due to romantic notions of the past.  Period films and television frequently influence fashion trends.  With the recent popularity of the PBS series Downton Abbey  there is a renewed interest in fine china patterns similar to those featured in the series.  Indeed, beautiful tea sets and cake platters of the period are lovely and I am happy to own a piece or two, but I do not live a post-Edwardian countryside lifestyle.  Nor do I have a butler.

Looking at the typical two income households of my neighborhood the commuters have young children going to school and are pretty slammed with after-school activities. It is difficult to imagine an afternoon mothers’ tea party with crumpets and white doilies.  Could be fun-“right“.  Who has time?  Personally, at my stage of life, my own hectic schedule reinforces  a “no muss, no fuss”, yet beauty still reigns attitude.  Clean design, high quality materials and well-made products are top of list for me.

Funny how this rings familiar to the guiding principles of 20th century modernist architects and designers.  Their creed was to provide functional, efficient, well-designed and affordable products to the masses.  The hallmark of their modern design was its intuitive edge. (Did someone mention Apple Computer?)

Mid-century design still inspires me.  Products designed during the 1950’s through 70’s were innovative and experimental.  Still love the original works of designers Tapio Wirkkala, Finn Juhl, Ray and Charles Eames and George Nelson- just to name a few. Shapes were clean, crisp and geometric. Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe popularized the quote, “less is more” as a precept for minimalist design. The axiom is repeated all the time and highlights the beauty of contemporary design like a beacon.

It is clear to me why my own design style remains practical, sleek and understated.  There is beauty in simplicity and classic design endures.  At my company we embrace a modernist philosophy of blending form + function in the creation of beautiful handmade tableware using the very amazing metal, stainless steel.  It makes life easier and lasts a lifetime.

40 - Helyx Snack Set w-Knot (Original)
The simplistic form of our Helyx Three Bowl Snack Set is a wonderful example of how minimalist design adds both style+function to home entertaining.

 “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”  Leonardo da Vinci

There is merit in design of all periods and tastefully blending them in your home is a skillful talent.  Give me luxurious fabric pillows of Scalamandré silk or velvet and elegant linen table napkins and I will never complain.  I adore the elegance of antique silver or any gilded decorative object as a stunning design accent. When it comes to functional tableware, the requirements change.  At my company, we believe purposeful products of today’s busy lifestyle must have all these characteristics:

  • Durability
  • Ease of care
  • Quality craftsmanship
  • Innovative design
  • Function
  • Social awareness

Mid-century– may in more ways than one resembles our today.  The need to be efficient, practical, environmentally conscious and very stylish is still in vogue.  Today’s young families are smarter, tech-savvy and worldly.  Keeping it elegant and simple with beautifully made contemporary tableware is our ongoing contribution to the everyday table.

NST 002 - NorthStar Crescent Bowl wTextured Black Nickel 8 x 4¾
NorthStar Crescent Bowl