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The Hermès, Les Poèmes du Mandarin project was initiated while Hong Kong-based Marc & Chantal Design was bringing the final touches to The Krug Room, a private dining room designed for Krug Champagne, situated in the kitchen of Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Hermès was initially approached to provide the tableware from their existing range, but an opportunity arose to create a new and unique design based on the rising bubbles in a glass of champagne and a graphic composition of Chinese characters.

Chinese contemporary calligrapher Fung Ming-Chip drew the scripts based on the work of classic poets from Tang and Sung dynasties (Li Bai, Ch’eng Hao or Du Fu) with references to conviviality, friendship, sharing food and drinks.The artist’s scripts were then carefully reinterpreted to create water-like effects and a sense of movement on the ceramic.

Marc & Chantal Design punctuated each artwork with small and playful Chinese Red chops carved by the artist; explored different scales as well as gradients in the rendering of the subtle grey tones of the calligraphy; and presented, on the various pieces of the collection, either full poems, extracts or single characters. The skill and craft of Hermès ateliers are on full display in the rendering of the ink, with touches of platinum making it look as if it has just been applied, still glistening and wet. The result is a full collection of tableware  comprised of eighteen pieces of Chinese and Western styles available in most Hermès stores around the world since January 2009.

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