Part architectural object, part functional tableware, Madrid studio Mad Lab’s new line of platters, trays, and vessels is a whimsical intersection of design nerdery.
“Utopia,” a series of wooden wares carved into simple, pared-down shapes, is inspired by the buildings from “Ideal City,” a series of three 15th-century Italian Renaissance paintings, as well as painter Piero della Francesca of the same era.
Like those paintings, Mad Lab’s designs also play with dimension and perspective thanks to cutouts that cast shadows and painted details.
Food platters with arching negative space look like the gates to a Renaissance plaza. Tower-like jars made from cedar wood incorporate a gold spire for a a handle. A flat-topped tray doubles as a serving tray and cover for an imaginary miniature bathhouse.
If we didn’t know better, we’d say the pieces are more minimalist dollhouse than tableware—but maybe there’s room to be both.