24.03.2014

Springtime Table

24.03.2014

Springtime Table

For this last post on Manfrotto Imagine More, I want to go back to where it all began for me: at home.
The days have lengthened, the temperature becomes gradually milder and it only takes a glance at the garden, with its first flowers in bloom, to be sure that the gentle beauty of spring has arrived.
Indeed, it is these spring blooms (Violets, Bergenia, Hyacinths and Tulips) that were the inspiration for my springtime table.
I usually play host to my guests in my basement kitchen, with places set at the long table created from rough planks of white-painted, salvaged wood. This time, however, I opted for a change of scenery and used my ultra-modern designer table in the living room, which provided a clean and minimalist background, perfect for highlighting the delicate mise en place.

Insofar as the table top allows, it is always best not to cover the whole thing with a table cloth; I chose to place a lightweight, fine piece of left-over curtain material as an improvised runner.
I like to mix and match different pieces of tableware.
The glass underplates are by Bitossi, as are the white bone china plates and the little fruit or salad dishes, whilst the purple plates are by Pagnossin.
The fun cutlery with shocking pink handles are by Bitossi again, whilst the glasses with hand-blown bubbles are by Livellara.
All of the items are from the shop Lovin’ Mama in Chieri.

For months, I used my own things from home (as well as buying things specially) to create the sets for the Blog and for ‘La Magia del Bianco Magazine‘. Fortunately, a girl from Milan, full of creative energy, came and opened this wonderful shop filled with colourful household items, in my town. She liked my photography so much that she decided to let me borrow anything I need for my photo shoots, giving me useful advice based on her knowledge and experience in the art of table decoration.

Any self-respecting table, however, simply must include a floral touch.
I added a bit of green to balance out the pink, violet and lavender tones: a simple garland of fresh ivy from the garden that serves as a crown for three pink tealights.
The ‘pièce de resistance’, however, is the bunch of seasonal flowers that I chose to arrange in an old, battered milk urn, in contrast with the modern and ordered table setting (I can’t betray my inner shabby chic entirely).
Sweetly scented freesias and mottled tulips are sure to add cheer to a spring table.

I didn’t stop at just the table decoration; I also combined it with a typical teatime spread.
The colours take on an even pinker hue, though they are always accompanied by splashes of green; in this case, not directly from the garden, but from the polka dot net and cloth cake dome by Cuoredi and the mugs by Livellara.
The pretty pink scalloped cake stand (Livellara again) holds baby meringues with matching pink sugar balls.

The sweet holders and little bottles by Baci Milano have the delicate and vintage feel of glass but they are actually in acrylic, and therefore are ideal even for children’s parties.
The little metal box contains the most fashionable sweet of the moment: macaroons, filled with delicious ganache, a colourful addition to the springtime table scene.

On the green plate, a cake that is both very simple and very tasty.
I bought a sponge base, already filled with strawberry jam, which I then covered with mascarpone almond cream (mascarpone mixed with almond milk) and decorated with slices of delicious fresh strawberries.
To complete the table, I chose a mauve candle holder with a matching metallic-effect candle, to which I added the same ivy used in the centrepiece.

In order to photograph the whole of a dressed table, I usually use a wide-angle lens (without too much exaggeration); a 17-50 mm on a tripod. This allows me to keep the ISO levels to a minimum and to lengthen the exposure time even in low light conditions.
However, on this occasion, I chose to highlight the details, using a medium telephoto lens, such as an 85 mm.
I love the feeling of slight compression it produces and, most of all, the bokeh, a Japanese term for the out of focus effect produced by the shallow depth of field obtained by a large lens aperture.
Indeed, my favourite lenses are fixed perspective, such as the 50 mm and 85 mm, precisely because of their large aperture, which allows you to obtain soft blurring and to take the best advantage of the natural light.

I would like to thank Manfrotto for this opportunity to give people a glimpse into ‘my world’ and I wish you all a peaceful spring and lots of beautiful photographs.

Mari
Interior designer, blogger and photographer. Expert in luxury décor and trompe l’oeil, combining her passion for photography with her love of décor and furnishings, in particular shabby chic style.
Co-creator, together with Cinzia Corbetta, of the book ‘La Magia del Bianco, lo stile shabby chic in Italia’ (The Magic of White; shabby chic in Italy), in which she was responsible for the photography.
She loves people and adores taking pictures of them in their daily lives, as well as during important occasions, such as on wedding days.
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