It's clear where London-based designer Bodo Sperlein finds inspiration for his bone-china plates and bowls. "I really love food," he tells me.
Sitting in his Thames-side studio, we've met to talk about his signature stark-white tableware, which has made the 34-year-old ceramicist a star in England and is about to do the same in America (one indicator: savvy design stores in New York are already selling knockoffs, a favorite being a variation on his bone-china beaker that, with the addition of a votive candle, becomes luminously sheer). But somehow we've digressed into a discussion of where to buy the city's best game (Steve Hatt, in Islington), smoked fish (H. Forman & Son, in the East End) and bread (the 5th Floor at Harvey Nichols).
Still, the turn of our conversation is entirely appropriate. Sperlein is obviously interested in how his creations will be used, not just in how they look. His plates may appear delicate, but pick one up and it's remarkably sturdy. Hold one up to the light and it reveals a subtle line of dots hand-pressed into the clay. But serve dinner and the plate will complement, not show up, the food.