Those hold-a-whole-bottle wine glasses have a certain appeal, much like a pair of elastic sweatpants or Hummer H2, they offer a roomy, come-as-you-are environment devoid of any irritating self-titration cues. But that comfort comes at a cost: Just as it’s tough to park a playground-sized SUV, those wine glasses need their whole own cabinet to store.
The Lempi glass (translating to “favorite”), designed by Matti Klenell for Iittala, is an “everyday” stemmed glass for water, juice, milk, or wine that masks supersized portions in a more diminutive frame.
“The inspiration derives from my father who works as a glass artist. For many years he produced an unpretentious everyday glass with a generous cup on a low stem,” Klenell tells Co.Design. “It invites you to pour just a little bit too much wine and has made our family gatherings both later and louder. My glass became very different from his, but they share the same inviting approach.”
Indeed, Klenell realized something else about these uncommonly squat, stemmed glasses when he started crafting them himself. They had the natural physics to stand within one another, if Klenell could modify the shape to get it just right.
“It felt almost like a cliché to make them stackable, but especially with an everyday item like this, I thought functional aspects such as ‘how to store them’ were quite essential,” Klenell explains.
“There are a few stackable stemware but usually they then stack on each other’s rims. They seem to be popular in the catering restaurant business, but I was surprised there weren’t more options to choose from on the market. The Lempi glass is different from all other stacked glasses I have seen. It stands on the bottom of the next glass to prevent it from getting stuck,” says Klenell.
By moving the point of contact from the rim of the glass to the base of its cup, Klenell didn’t just take a noticeably different approach from the rest of the industry, he bought several inches of vertical storage space, making the idea of a stacked wine glass cupboard-friendly. In fact, since dreaming up this unconventional design, Klenell cites the biggest challenge of the project as “convincing people at Iittala that it was possible.”
“Glass is glass. It cracks sometimes and you have to count on that, but it is also a matter of how you handle and treat it. The thinner the glass the more careful you should be, and you know that by intuition,” Klenell writes. “But as a matter of fact the Lempi glass is quite durable. I’ve have 18 of them in my cupboards at home for more than 2 years throughout the design/development process and I have not broken one single piece. I admit that I am quite a careful person, but I use them almost every day.”
[Hat tip: bltd]