Hosting is an art made up of equal parts skill, creativity and attention. It is an attitude that comes to some people naturally and instinctively, but that even those who do not feel it spontaneously can easily acquire and refine, developing a growing interest for those “table manners” that have, for centuries, allowed hosts to blend art and culture in welcoming guests into their homes.
The mildest season of the year, the spring - with all the desire for freshness, lively colours and lightness it brings with it - increasingly pushes hosts to organise spectacular yet intimate events within the four walls of their homes, discovering unusual spaces both inside and out, redesigning them in an imaginative way, not just to satisfy a joyful creativity, but also to satisfy the desire for a renewed conviviality, a yearning to live and share.
To welcome guests in the best possible way, a minimum of preparation is absolutely essential. When setting up a space, be it formal or informal, contrasts always prove to be interesting, especially if the environment is private and intimate. Similarly, the use of a coordinated colour palette, with a range of graduated shades, reveals an intriguing and particularly sophisticated intuition.
The new trend is moving increasingly in the direction of a “bare” table setting, with no tablecloths, but rather using the surfaces available as they are. This is especially interesting when it allows you to enjoy a textured table top, such as Sand Earth by SapienStone, which allows for a simple, natural and pervasive convivial experience wrapped in the intriguing contrast of an elegant table setting in contact with a surface with a deep texture, such as that of stone, enhanced by warm, enveloping colours, the result of the enchanting blend of brown clays.This allows the table setter to create a mise en place with unusual and creative combinations, playing with the juxtaposition of different materials and a search for balance between lines and structures with apparently different languages which can actually be combined to great effect.
The décor, deliberately simple to put together, suggests the use of natural materials such as small plants, different greens and multicoloured seasonal flowers, but it is also made more interesting by the presence of recycled objects, travel souvenirs, or traditional family utensils.
In reality, there is no “right” or “wrong” mise en place, but it is possible to express different conceptions of the table according to the occasion. A setting can be fresh and colourful, yet bold and delicate at the same time. The combination of the simplest elements can be a perfect match for the choice of an elegant, carefully-designed setup, creating a mix and match effect which becomes the true stylistic signature of the host, for a truly unique and extremely welcoming effect, time after time.
There are, in essence, three rules for a perfect table: proportion, harmony and rhythm. Each individual place setting should have at least 60cm of space, with a comfortable seat which is properly centred on the plate. Symmetry is also a fundamental element to creating a good banquet: plates, glasses and cutlery should all be well-aligned and not excessive in number, as this always makes the table much more pleasing to the eye and practical to use.
The table is set with the aim of conveying a sensation, a desire, an emotion. It must be a surprise of shapes and colours that invades the eyes, even better if combined with a symphony of scents that pervades the senses.
A famous song by the great Italian singer-songwriter De Andrè says “Spring doesn’t knock, she strides in confidently...”, but if spring is taking her sweet time to arrive outdoors, then creating a springtime table is the ideal solution!
Giorgia Fantin Borghi