førs studio’s tagline, “our intent is essentially poetic,” is a philosophy that the brand’s co-founders, Muriel Solomon and Vanessa Eckstein, have brought to life with their collection of tableware. “Our design emphasizes sensual lines, nesting shapes and tactility,” says Eckstein. “Our intent is to create objects that bring joy to daily rituals.”
When Argentinian-born Eckstein was a child, her love of drawing and art was encouraged by her family. Her mother even convinced Miguel Caride, a well-known surrealist artist, to take Eckstein on as his youngest student – Eckstein was only 11. Attending his class required devotion: “The commute alone took us four hours there and back,” she says. “It instilled in me, early on, a strong sense of commitment and passion.”
Eckstein went on to study architecture at the University of Buenos Aires, earn a Masters in Intercultural Design at the Art Center in Pasadena, and become founder and creative director of Toronto’s Blok Design.
Solomon’s curriculum vitae is just as impressive. She graduated high school in math and sciences in Paris, went to business school in Bordeaux and landed her first summer job at the Louvre Museum. “I was responsible for helping to plan the opening cultural calendar for the [then] new Pyramid’s multidisciplinary complex,” she says. After graduating from business school, Solomon moved to Toronto where she led marketing campaigns and was COO for one of the country’s leading restaurant groups. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for Destination Toronto and is involved with The Stop, an innovative community hub that promotes civic engagement to fight hunger.
Prior to førs, Eckstein dabbled in the idea of launching a ceramics collection on her own. After deciding she wanted to commit, Eckstein reached out to a good friend. “I’ve always had a passion for design and food,” says Solomon. “When Vanessa called me, I’d just returned from a trip to Copenhagen, where I’d been mesmerized by all the ceramics. By coincidence, Vanessa asked if I’d join her and launch a tableware line – I instantly said yes.”
Each førs piece is feel-good – literally: The organic shapes are beautiful to the touch and the provenance is superlative. Soloman says, “We work with family-run businesses who are committed to the well-being of their employees and to sustainable practices, like the local sourcing of clay, the recycling of clays and glazes, the sustainable sourcing of wood, the use of 100% recycled cardboard for shipping and vendors who are certified through ethical practice audits.”
The 51-piece collection includes plates, bowls, cups, teapots and carafes in a restrained palette of four colours: The white has a creamy undertone; the grey is kind of moody and dusty; the rose imparts a pretty vintage quality; and the coral adds zing to a room. Each hand-glazed item is a little piece of art that’s also hard-working – these delicate-looking beauties are dishwasher, microwave, oven and freezer safe.
And then there are the wooden nesting trays. They’re handcrafted from solid exotic bullet wood sourced from self-sustaining forests. The softly rounded edges and beautiful natural wood tones make the trays Better the perfect accompaniment to any piece from førs’ collection.
førs’ desire to make useful pieces of art that bring joy to your day is especially resonant now, given how much time we’re spending at home. “When you buy a piece, think of it as a wonderful excuse to celebrate and honour everyday moments in life,” says Eckstein.
Christy Wright is a Toronto-based design and lifestyle writer.