Carina Seth Andersson created the Sand Secrets collection as a continuation of Design House Stockholm's Sand tableware series. Design Stories chatted with the designer about the idea behind the minimalist pieces and how some considered contrast can make all the difference in a table setting.
SETTING THE TABLE, in a way, is like setting the stage for a meal. You build a scene with plates, tumblers, cutlery, and various service dishes, but the real star of the show is the food. One firm believer of this is Swedish designer Carina Seth Andersson: the minimalist forms of her designs create a scenography that elevates the dishes without overpowering them.
A great example of such a design is the Sand tableware, originally created for the Swedish Nationalmuseum and manufactured by Design House Stockholm, which expanded in August 2022 with pots, jars, and platters. The new extension to the collection is called Sand Secrets, alluding to the idea that the focus of the table setting is not so much on the tableware but on what is hidden beneath their lids.
“With both Sand and the new Sand Secrets, I wanted the pieces to have a subdued expression so that the food would be what takes center stage,” confirms Seth Andersson.
Subtle and striking at the same time
The original Sand tableware and the new additions share the same minimalist design language but instead of the creamy beige color of the original pieces – which was inspired by the Nationalmuseum's building – Seth Andersson opted for darker, more dramatic shades in the new bowls, pots, and plates.
“Sand Secrets is an independent continuation but can be combined well with the original tableware,” the designer explains.
“For Sand, we used clay with a natural, slightly warm beige tone and a transparent glaze. The clay in Sand Secrets is also colored through, with a transparent glaze on the inside, to make sure the new darker and smaller pieces go with the original tableware. For me, the combination of the three earthy hues of beige, red, and black felt like a very natural choice.”
Endless ways to use and combine
Another characteristic common for both collections is their versatility.
“It was a big challenge for me to keep the number of pieces moderate and instead design items that can be used for a variety of purposes,” says Seth Andersson. “There aren’t that many parts in the series, but all of them can be used in several ways. For example, the large Sand cup with no handle is perfect for tea, but it can also be used for serving soup or a dessert.”
Indeed, it is easy to think of countless uses for each of the items: we can just as easily envision the small oval platters being used for sushi, tapas, or appetizers as we can for a slice of pie or a carefully plated dessert. It’s all about using your imagination!
“All of the Sand Secrets pieces can be used in several ways.”
“For me, everyday objects are invaluable sources of inspiration. It’s exciting to look at something you use in your everyday life, whether it's a tool or a cup to drink from. A table setting is so much more than just tableware – it's usually about the combination of items.”
Looking at the dark tones and soft yet striking forms of Sand Secrets, the items also seem like an easy way to add a little oomph to a table setting.
“Something too similar and predictable can also be very boring,” Seth Andersson notes. “I like a bit of contrast.”
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Text: Emmi Ratilainen Images: Design House Stockholm