One of the best things about going to the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) each season is discovering manufacturers that I never heard of and becoming a fan before I’ve left the booth. At this winter’s show, that company was KINTO Co. Founded in 1972 as a wholesaler of porcelain and ceramic tableware in Japan’s Shiga prefecture, the company began to develop their own designs in glass, wood, ceramic, and other materials, for the Japanese lifestyle in the 1990s, and started a full-scale export business in 2009.
Based on the simple premise of creating products “to make our lives comfortable”, their line includes a range of coffee and tea related pieces as well as other designs. New this year is the Couleur teapot set, which combines a modern design form with the classic Japanese teapot. The microwave- and dishwasher-safe set includes a pot, cup, and saucer. Inside the pot, the spout is covered by a delicate porcelain strainer that is an example of the company’s craftsmanship. KINTO also launched an elegantly glazed new tableware brand called atelier tete that refers to the delicate, handmade quality of the clay pieces (te is hand in Japanese). I don’t know if it’s a scientific fact that tea tastes better in a handmade cup, but with these pieces, it certainly looks like it tastes better.