Famed tableware brand David Mellor celebrates its 50th anniversary this autumn. Charlotte Pasha talks to creative director Corin Mellor, who is David’s son.
You may not realise it, but we all come into contact with a David Mellor-designed item almost every day.
Maybe it’s the stainless steel cutlery he designed for NHS hospitals.
Or perhaps it’s the modern traffic light, which he helped the government re-design in the 1960s.
Why is Sloane Square the right place for David Mellor?
“When we opened the shop in the 1960s the area was a vibrant mix of artistic entrepreneurs,” says Corin Mellor.
“Elizabeth David and Terence Conran had both set up their shops around the same time as my father.
“People were pushing boundaries and the area was at the epicentre of the new culinary revolution that changed the food habits of the nation.
“Over 50 years the area has gradually refined itself. But it still has an eccentric edge and a love of good food and great design.”
Who shops at David Mellor?
“Regulars include some celebrities, Hollywood stars and top chefs.
“But the best clients are the Chelsea residents who appreciate good design.
“We’re delighted that we have several generations of the same local families who shop with us.”
How does David Mellor include sustainability in its ethos?
“As well as working hard on our packaging and our own cutlery production processes, we try to design products that will last.
“(That’s) longevity both in terms of the quality of manufacture, but also from a visual or stylistic point of view.
“So they’ll still be a pleasure to use 10, 20, even 50 years later!” Corin says.
“There’s a great northern expression – ‘Buy cheap, buy twice’ – and I think people are waking up to how this applies massively to issues of sustainability.”
How has the brand changed over the last 50 years?
“The original name for the shop was actually David Mellor Ironmonger, as it was inspired by the eclectic ironmonger shops of my father’s Sheffield childhood.
“Over the years we’ve responded to changing demand within the area and focused more on fine tableware and kitchenware.”
How is David Mellor celebrating its anniversary?
“To celebrate 50 years in Sloane Square, we’ve created a special limited-edition rosewood version of our popular Provençal cutlery.
“Each piece of this collectable 50th anniversary edition has been exquisitely handmade in our factory near Sheffield, using sustainably sourced rosewood.”
Which David Mellor project are you most proud of?
“The thing we’re most proud of is probably our Pride cutlery. Aptly named!
“In a funny way, it’s come to symbolise us: a mixture of elegant design and honest craftsmanship, a blend of Sloane Square sophistication and Sheffield industrial heritage.”
Main picture: David Mellor at work.