From heavy angular whisky glasses which press their weight into your hands to the delicate lightness of fine wine glasses; the vessels in which we serve our drinks can be just as important as the liquid within. We love nothing more than discovering the glamorous, the modern, the unexpected and the beautiful examples of glassware in London. While many of the city's markets are a great spot for glass hunting (potentially a new weekend yupie sport?) the showrooms of London harbour exquisite examples of both period and modern designs.
Here are the best:
135-139 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3BX - www.scp.co.uk
Showcasing modern design for the last 30 years, SCP has two London stores, one in the west of the city and the other east. It's glassware selection is made up of simple, elegant designs interspersed with colourful, more textured pieces. The above is a stunning yet modest carafe from Simon Hasan who enjoys combining techniques and materials from contradictory worlds. Here he's used laboratory-grade borosilicate glass, precision-made by hand, and wrapped leather sections to provide warmth and contrast. The leather details are further embellished with turned brass fittings.
Pentreath & Hall
17 Rugby Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3QT - www.pentreath-hall.com
A small shop in a mostly quiet area of London, Penreath & Hall is part design showroom, part aladdin’s cave, full of antiques and new homewares. Their glassware is typically robust yet beautiful such as this vibrantly olive-coloured cut glass, the likes of which have been produced in Bohemia for centuries. Patterns are created by in a delicate process of cutting through a layer of coloured glass to reveal clear glass beneath. Each piece is hand-made and reveals its own unique variations.
31-35 Pitfield Street, London, N1 6HB - pitfieldlondon.com
A cafe and showroom on Pitfield Street, this incredible place stocks only beautiful, unique and attention grabbing homewares. Their vintage glassware is incredible with small etched sherry sets to glorious whisky decanters. The above example is a vintage pressed glass decanter.
Skandium Brompton / Skandium Marylebone / Skandium Selfridges - www.skandium.com
A British company, founded by three Scandinavians in the late 1990s, Skandium has a wonderful range of glassware, from patterned and textured glass to the sleek designs seen above. In 2001, Häberli created the Essence wine glass collection, above, for Iittala which was continued 2013 with Essence Plus; each glass perfectly serves its own particular function.
274-275 Upper Street London N1 2UA - twentytwentyone.com
As the name suggests this design shop combines classics from the twentieth century with progressive contemporary work, aiming to supply the very best design-led furniture, lighting and accessories. Their glassware is thoroughly modern, featuring stemless wine glasses, chunky champagne flutes and marked crystal. The above glass is part of a set, by Martino Gamper for J.Hills Standard, which is incredibly tactile, your fingers naturally seeking out the smooth hollows and crisp ridges of the cuts.
93 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ - www.monologuelondon.com
A contemporary design shop in Shoreditch, Monologue showcases conceptual design, emerging designers, interiors and homeware. Their featured glassware uses clean lines and minamlist design, focusing on unusual or a-typical shapes. The above collection, Wine, Water and Whisky, was designed by Fabio Meliota in blown borosilicate glass and is characterized by the simplicity and elegance of its form.
400 Oxford Street, London W1A 1AB - www.selfridges.com
Oxford Street's best-known store is home to a plethora of beautiful crystal glassware, from the dainty and delicate to heavy duty entertaining sets. The Don Draper-like glasses above are Waterford crystal which the store stock extensively. But beware of the price, these two will set you back a cool £125.
39 Park Road, London N8 8TE - www.littleparis.co.uk
Little Paris boasts an eclectic range of vintage and unique furniture, curiosities, contemporary fashion and home accessories, directly sourced from France. The vintage glassware features decanters, glass jugs, and liquor glasses. The above date back to the 1930s.
Barnsbury Hall, Barnsbury Street, London N1 1PN - www.ariashop.co.uk
Based in Islington for the past two decades, Aria stocks a mixed range of contemporary home furnishings and lifestyle accessories. The glassware section is thoroughly modern with elegant and simple tumblers and wine glasses. The above is part of the O Range, based on Riedel's trademark 'Vinum' glass shapes. The stemless wine glasses have the advantage of being more stable and less easily knocked or tipped over, but still retain their elegance. They're shaped based on wine varities so look out for the Viogner / Chardonnay and the Bordeaux / Cabernet / Merlot range as well as this, the Riesling / Savingon Blanc.
34A Islington Green, London N1 8DU - moderntimesvintage.co.uk
Modern Times specialises in 20th century design homewares, particularly drinking glasses, tea sets, dinner sets, teacups and small pieces of furniture. The stunning sets range from 1920s finest lead crystal wine glasses to colourful 1960s collections such as the port set above.
The Old Cinema
160 Chiswick High Road, London W4 1PR - www.theoldcinema.co.uk
The Old Cinema, based in a former Edwardian picture palace, has a fantastic range of vintage barware, from 1930s cocktail shakers to a 1950s his-and-her set and wine coasters dating back to the Victorians. We found this 1960s vintage glass set with a silver overlay and went into raptures thinking about sipping sherries and port on a lazy Sunday.