As a designer, Nika Zupanc often works with metals, and to beautiful effect. Her collection for Ghidini 1961 features brass and chrome, evoking a sultry Miami in the 1950s. Her project with Andrea Caldera, a master silversmith with De Vecchi, will be her first time working with silver, and she is here with him at the famed Milan atelier. It has been compared to a Renaissance workshop, and one indeed sees great traditional skill and craft as artisans cut, weld and polish silver. But De Vecchi is also known for its cutting-edge technique and long practice of drawing on the talent of young designers like Zupanc.
“It’s a beautiful and exciting experience to be introduced to new material or techniques,” she says. Her aim is to create an espresso set that has a precious feel, almost like jewelry. “I wanted to design a piece that complements your appearance, your charisma,” she says. “Inspired by the material, I decided to make the cup with a casting of silver as one solid piece.” She and Caldera adjust the plan given what’s technically feasible. “The coffee cup has a double wall,” she says. “The outer wall acts like a protective shield from the hotness of coffee, but also gives a special beauty, shape and character.” Caldera is delighted, and believes the product will appeal to clients. “The peculiar thing is that the cups are being made with a technique we use for jewelry,” he says. “Because we don’t just produce objects for the table or for the home: we also craft jewels. So for us it’s natural to link these two worlds.”