I love all things colorful and these dishes are some of my favorites. They are Heller dishes made by Massimo Vignelli in the 1970's. This is what Vignelli said about these dishes when he designed them: "I like design to be semantically correct, syntactically consistent, and pragmatically understandable. I like it to be visually powerful, intellectually elegant, and above all timeless."
I was given an eight place setting of these dishes for a wedding gift in 1982. I absolutely loved them. My husband and I used them for every meal for years. When other, more subdued dishes came into style I put these away. Then I had children and realized what great dishes these were for little ones, as they do not break and the kids loved picking a different color every meal. So I drug them out again and they were used all during my kids childhood years.
They were originally made in Italy primarily in bright yellow in the 1960's. But when production came to the United States in the 1970's a range of bright colors was introduced. I remember when I first saw these dishes when I was a teenager in the late 1970's and there just wasn't a lot of color in plastics at that time so these were pretty awesome.
There are large dinner plates, small salad plates, bowls, and mugs. They all have a little lip on the bottom that makes them wonderfully stackable!
A number of years ago, after the dishes had been put away and not used for years, I contemplated getting rid of them. But there was something that kept holding me back. Probably memories more than anything! So, I hung on to them. Then one day I realized these would make the BEST dishes for outdoor use on the picnic table. They stack and carry easily, they do not break, and they just scream of picnic cheerfulness! I pulled them out, did an inventory on what was missing (probably a few bowls left out in the sandbox by my kids umpteen years ago). I got on ebay thinking that they would be a dime a dozen and WOW, they were expensive and hard to find. I needed a couple bowls and a couple mugs in certain colors and in order to get what I needed I ended up buying a lot more. The good thing? I have a full service place setting of 12 now.
My husband and I have recently retired to a hundred acre farm in Tennessee and we are living in a travel trailer while we are building our house and I have found these to be the best "camper dishware" ever! Hard to believe that 30 years later, my husband and I are using these dishes for every meal again! I guess what Vignelli said was completely accurate: "... visually powerful, intellectually elegant, and above all timeless".
Whether it is the colors, the memories, the cheerful table that can be set with them, or simply the ease of use - I LOVE these dishes!!
This is my grand-daughter, Jillian, and her "friend" Chloe, playing tea party on a
beautiful Sunday evening!
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