At this year's New York International Gift Fair there was the typical mix of the good, bad and the ugly. A standout from the Accent on Design section of the fair this year was Menu A/S, a Danish homewares design company that was founded in 1979 to supply steel products to the catering industry. Since then, Menu has collaborated with an impressive group of Scandinavian and international designers to produce highly functional and beautifully designed tools for living. This season, the brand introduced some great pieces to help you transition from Winter to Spring.
The Glass Kettle Teapot, designed by Norm Architects, can be placed directly on your stovetop and includes a retractable tea egg attached by a silicon "string" that is built into the cap of the kettle. Once your tea is steeped to your liking, simply pull the string and the tea egg secures to the top of the kettle -- minimizing post-steeping drips and mess.
An ode to Nordic knit design, the double-walled ceramic tea cups are a great complement to the Teapot. Nordic fishermen would wear these woolen knits out to sea -- each knit patterns is unique to a specific village. If, for some reason, the fishermen didn't make it back to land, their sweaters would washup to shore and people would be able to identify casualties by the specific designs in each sweater. There's been a recent interest in the fashion world with heritage craft and this series celebrates the ingenuity of Nordic design.
Spring picnic prep came in the form of the reversible Carafe wrap, a neoprene coozy that, when soaked in water and then slipped over the Water Carafe, is self-cooling. The carafe itself was a Red Dot winner -- the steel collar and flat, self-closing lid opens with gravity so a simple tip decants liquid!
A product for all seasons is their Wine Breather, an aerator that has a leak-proof top that allows wine to be aerated directly into the decanter. The unique beaker-like design aerates the wine as it flows along the glass walls of the carafe. With an hour-glass motion, you can pour the wine back into the bottle with a quick flip.
Danish chef Umahro Codagan was onsite for product demonstrations from the Spice Book, a mini recipe takeaway authored by Codagan for Menu featuring healthy Danish snack recipes in both English and Scandinavian. The porcelein, stack-and-serve Steam Tower, a great example of the oven-to-table trend in cookware was on display and my favorite product, a Norm-design Cool Board Set -- a serving tray and cutting board combo with a cooling pad option and bowl/cover. Check the explanation on this multi-functional set below.