At Esque Studio in Portland, Oregon, things happen quickly. In less than five minutes, a glassblower can transform a small molten blob at the end of a long tube into a drinking glass; in about half an hour, the glassblower can create a foot-long vase. And in the studio’s 2,000-degree oven, a roast beef for eight people—the main course for an amazing dinner party—will cook in only about three minutes.
Andi Kovel and Justin Parker, cofounders of Esque, are part of both fast-moving experiences. The pair launched Esque a dozen years ago after meeting at Parsons design school in New York City. They soon became known as glass artists, creating beautiful but functional items in saturated colors like fuchsia and mint green. For the spring 2012 season (like fashion designers, Kovel and Parker create two lines a year), Esque features items like oil and vinegar cruets that resemble elegantly mutated test tubes and paperweights that look like bubblegum bubbles.
- Best New Chefs 2009: Naomi Pomeroy
- 10 Ultimate Wines for Dinner Parties
- An Irish Country Dinner with Ceramicist Peter Ting
- Entertaining Napa Style
- Extreme Entertaining
- Ultimate Napa Wine & Pizza Party
- A Meat Master Cooks in his Dream Kitchen
Esque’s studio, in an industrial part of the city, is very much a working space; still, Kovel and Parker sometimes host dinners there. Parker, an avid cook, learned this style of entertaining from his former teacher, Italian glassblowing master Pino Signoretto, who would have elaborate Italian meals in his studio after a day of work. Parker’s specialty is tacos: He brings carnitas or roasted root vegetables from home, then very briefly heats flour tortillas in the glass oven. But sometimes the studio meals are more ambitious. Periodically, Kovel and Parker open the huge garage-style door, spread white tablecloths on one of their long worktables and invite a great local chef, like Naomi Pomeroy, to come cook.