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Dig In: Vintage Flatware is Served

Add some flavor to your table.

Ménagère Cutlery Set by Salvador Dalí, 1957

Jenna Hochman

If you've been with us here at Dendwell for some time, it won't be news to you that we are obsessed with tablescapes. A tablescape, AKA table-setting, is a dinner scene that showcases your tableware both functional and decorative. We believe that a well-dressed table is an altar, meaningfully combining textiles, ceramics, silver, etc., in service and celebration of a deserving meal.

When styling a table, people tend to start with a choice of placemats or plates — with good reason, as these properties occupy center stage and take up the most space visually. That said, their prominence extends into the market with so many vintage or contemporary shapes, patterns, and makes available for purchase. The same cannot be said for those unsung heroes, the supporting characters waiting in the wings and engaged so deeply in the activity of dining: flatware.

While vintage silverware is reasonably available online and in antique shops, the most widely available selection skews rather plain, lacking frills for the sake of functionalism. It takes a keen eye and much patience to source the kind of cool, rare vintage flatware that packs as much flavor as your other tableware. Lucky for you, we take hosting dinner very seriously. We've scoured the landscape of vintage flatware to serve you both personality and practicality in every bite.

Keep scrolling and set your table with cool, rare flatware.

Playful cheese knives are a way to dip your toe into funky flatware and add character to a meal without competing with your other tableware accents. These veggie spears were sold via From Another.

In this Spage Age setting by Yamazaki, chunky shapes meet undulating lines and finish in delicate prongs. Available via Siglo Shop.

Originally designed for camp or picnic use, this cherry red Mepal flatware c. 1980s is a funky choice to liven up a more basic table setting. Available via Franz's Favorites.

If you're a Kubrick fan, you might recognize this set by famous modernist/functionalist, Arne Jacobsen, which was used in 2001: A Space Odyssey. For a nice dose of Danish design (c. 1958), 12-pieces are on sale at Vintage Chic Bruxelles.

Get a load of the rustic, cottage charm on these hand-carved wooden serving utensils! Complete with rhinoceros detail, you can score these from Fraser and Willow.

MCM flatware set by Signe Persson-Melin at an unbeatable price with modern geometry? Run, don't walk, to Shop Biddy. (Available)

This silver plated set is just special, with ornate floral and cutout detailing. Styling tip: If you're serving several courses, these antiques paired with the above Mepal set for main? Chef's kiss. Available via The IME Label.

Seen here: Lido salad servers by Guzzini, Italy c. the 1970s. I particularly enjoy how the pronged utensil looks like a Spage Age King Triton's trident. Available via Franz's Favorites.

Designed by Hungarian artist Janos Megyik in the 70s, this setting attempts to bridge the gap between flatware and hollowware with a sunken knife detail. Available via Siglo Shop.

A crocodile, fish, and bird walk into a bar... (Stop me if you've heard this one.) This 80s animal-shaped set by Jean-Marie Patois is yours to nail a perfect bend of playful elegance. Available via Casa Shop.

Dutch designer Maarten Baas' flatware embraces small imperfections and approximations to fabulously subtle and surreal impact. Please note the ridiculous number of serrations on the knife, and the fork's unmatched tong thickness. Available via Valerie Objects.

A contemporary offering, but it's too good not to share. Let Madde Pontin tell it: "The cutlery “skeleton” has been reduced to the absolute minimum, limiting the amount of material used whilst still retaining its functionality, left remaining is the outline of the cutlery like the image of a skeleton reflected in an x-ray." Set by Nendo, available at Pon the Online Store.

Another new production! Seletti's Hybrid line is a table-setting boon, mashing up elements east and west, traditional and eclectic, high and low for an aesthetic that's frankly, punk as f#@k. Armilla spoons available via Beam Brooklyn.

Ricci Argentieri's fish flatware is just the right amount of kitsch in a stainless steel to keep things frolicky while maintaining sophistication. Available via Casa Shop.

David Tisdale is definitely a name-to-know when it comes to vintage flatware. The Memphis designer's picnic set is honored in Cooper Hewitt's collection. This geometric serveware 'Elika' set c. 1988 is available via Glow Geometric.

What do you think, which flatware set is to your taste?

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Our spaces are reflections of who we have been, who we are, and who we are becoming. We believe that the objects we surround ourselves with have meaningful impact on the lives we lead, and it is our mission to empower people to find and experiment with objects that move them, resourcefully, sustainably, and freely.