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Meet Nick Munro - Lover of Tea & Creator of Fine Tea Ware

Nick Munro has a great reputation as a distinctive, contemporary British designer and we’re delighted to offer a range of his tea and coffee ware.  He’s worked on some really interesting commissions, including a tea set to commemorate the London Olympics and has also created a teapot for the Queen!

His links with Whittard go back a long way, ten years ago he was commissioned to design a collection of very exclusive pewter tea caddies but the collections featured by Whittard nowadays are much more accessible and we went to meet him in his studio to find out more about what inspires him.

Nick Munro

Did you always want to be a designer and where do you find inspiration?

As a boy, I loved racing cars and steam engines, and from an early age appreciated the elegance of those engineering solutions where form followed function.  I started out as an engineer then went to the Royal College of Art. I was broke, as students are, and always interested by the simplicity and energy of springs, I came up with egg cup made from a spring. This proved very popular and opened the door to a career in design.

Function has always been important and while I love sculpture, I prefer pieces with both style and function, as something that is both beautiful and practical is much more difficult to achieve.

Nowadays, I meet lots of people and find that conversations can be incredibly inspiring. I love to travel, experience different cultures and try to keep an open mind. It takes a while to discover your style but once you’ve found it, new ideas suggest themselves.

 In recent years it seems that some mass-consumed household items have been completely reinvented from a design point of view e.g. computers, mobile phones, vacuum cleaners etc. Which household item do you think is ripe for reinvention?

Lots of things are evolving but there is such proliferation of different plugs and connectors, I can see that changing. I’ve seen a real rise in the appreciation of craft as people become tired of endless cheap duplication.

Why do you think this is?

Buying a mass produced product is not a very satisfying experience, the product often lacks personality  and a story. People are focusing on provenance, local industry, ethically sourced, renewable materials – particularly when buying a present. There is an element of flattery in giving something that has been crafted, and that has personality, rather than something commonplace.

Tell us how your designs for tea and coffee ware we feature came about

The Bistro pot came first and was inspired by Middle Eastern antique form with a traditional side handle. In the West people have moved away from a side pouring handle, like a pan.

The name for the Fatso pot, came from my wife Ali as it’s glamorous and stylish, but simultaneously friendly with personality.

fatso

I did a collection for the V & A Art Deco exhibition in 2003 and this inspired the Octagon collection since the octagon shape is very evocative of that period. The octagon exterior houses cylindrical interior inside providing a twin wall – an elegant pot with the insulation benefits of a double wall.

Nick Munro Octagon Coffee Pot

How would you describe your style?

Proportion is what it’s all about, modernist in character but because the proportions are well balanced,  the designs are also very classical, with enduring appeal.

Tell us a little  about the design process for tea and coffee equipment

Everyone has had a service station experience where you might as well just turn the pot upside down, so these are the elements I take into account: Most importantly they pour correctly, that the handle and knob are insulated  and in addition capacity, materials and of course, the price.

Finally, I’ve read you are big tea drinker and couldn’t live without your teapot – which teas do you love the most and how do you like to take them?

I love tea and have different teapots for different teas. I love Darjeeling, fresh mint cut straight from the bush and I’ve tried teas across the spectrum but nothing beats a proper English cuppa.  I sometimes have sugar and sometimes don’t.

Thank you Nick

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