Thursday, January 18, 2007

Through the Drinking Glass

In 2004, Riedel, Austria's world-reknown glasshouse, purchased one of its German competitors, the historic Spiegelau factory. Nearly 500-years old (it was established in 1521), Spiegelau's greatest attribute was its small size, which made it possible to tailor the manufacturing and shift gears easily. Over the centuries, the firm continually changed its focus to produce whatever kind of glass was in demand - from mirrors to beads to snuff bottles. Their primary focus for the past 100 years, however, has been particularly-durable drinking glasses (above) supplied to restaurants throughout the world. Stemware designs were always clean-lined and modern (in fact, sometimes lifted from the more design-savvy artists at Riedel) and they were often the first choice of restauranteurs, not only for their simplicity, but for the amazing strength and scratch resistance of platinum glass, Spiegelau's special recipe of sand, soda and lime.

Having waited for contractual obligations to wind down, 2007 will see Reidel's launch of the new Spiegelau line - and this time the aim is squarely on retail. Look for a broader range of Spiegelau's tabletop designs as well as traditional stemware. All of the beauty, less of the breakage. Mazel Tov!