The tea set originated in China as a way to enhance the enjoyment of tea drinking, by serving it in beautifully crafted and decorated ceramic cups. This serving ritual was readily adopted by British tea drinkers as it grew in popularity to become the nation’s most consumed beverage, and as the tradition of always serving tea to visitors was established, the tea set soon became a status symbol of the home across the country.
The quintessential English tea set evokes images of dainty, fine bone china teacups, hand-painted with floral motifs. But if pretty patterns aren’t your cup of tea (pun intended), that doesn’t mean you have to miss out. Danish design house Georg Jensen has collaborated with the award-winning Swedish design agency Bernadotte & Kylberg to create a stainless-steel tea and coffee set that exudes sleek and minimalist Scandinavian style.
The Helix collection is a five-piece service comprising a thermos coffee jug, insulated teapot, bonbonniere sugar bowl, milk jug and a tray. The name is derived from the Greek word for ‘twisted’ and the collection’s delicate curves create a beautifully tactile experience. Each piece is made from hardwearing stainless steel with a subtle industrial aesthetic that celebrates the cross-cultural tradition of drinking tea and coffee.
‘Our priority is always to make a great product that does exactly what it was designed to do. Then we added the identity and attributes of Georg Jensen from our perspective,’ says Bernadotte & Kylberg. ‘Scandinavian design springs from a practical way of using an object. That was our primary thought. Bring back practicality and make it elegant.’
Stockholm-based designers Carl Philip Bernadotte and Oscar Kylberg founded their eponymous studio in 2012. The duo specialises in elegant contemporary design that exhibits Scandinavian simplicity and adheres to the famous ‘form follows function’ philosophy. The Helix collection, which launches this October, marks the first collaboration between Bernadotte & Kylberg and Georg Jensen – although the two Scandinavian brands found instant affinity.
‘As designers, they [Bernadotte & Kylberg] understand the power of simplicity,’ says Georg Jensen chief creative officer, Nicholas Manville. ‘From the beginning of the collaboration, the clean lines and elegant function were there, but they instinctively knew that any adornment on a Georg Jensen product is part of the function. The iconic twist shape throughout the Helix collection has purpose as well as beauty: Bernadotte and Kylberg have created something that already feels like a timeless design.’
Visit The Royal Exchange Georg Jensen boutique to discover the complete Helix collection. Available as individual pieces, prices start at £50