Stephanie and Bruce Tharp of Chicago-based studio MATERIOUS were approached with the challenge of designing a functional object that both serves and embodies Newton Vineyard, an eco-conscious vineyard in the Napa Valley renowned for its line of unfiltered wines. Inspired by their visit to Newton, the duo designed a functional wine tray that evokes the philosophy as well as the physical mountainside topography of the vineyard.
“The Puzzle” wine tray, named after Newton’s icon blend, combines 10 removable puzzle pieces that can be popped out to serve as coasters or smaller, individual serving trays for fruits, nuts, cheese and other wine-paired snacks. Each of the 112 pieces is handcrafted from responsibly sourced walnut wood, reflecting the eco-conscious ethos of the winery.
“The Puzzle” also incorporates distinctly architectural elements into its design: the tray takes the overall form of the golden rectangle, a traditional Western concept of harmony and proportion. Meanwhile, the asymmetrical cross-hatching mimics the division of Newton Vineyard into blocks. Moreover, the beveled edges of the removable ‘puzzle pieces’ mirror the stepped form of Newton’s terraced landscape, while the revealed spaces on the tray—one of which conceals a compact corkscrew—echo the topography of vineyard’s caves.
According to Bruce, upon his trip to Newton, “It was not one aspect of design or sustainability that impacted me, but rather the rare balance of all of these elements combined.” And it is this balance that is so thoughtfully summarized in “The Puzzle.”
The design will be debuted on April 12th at Beacon Wines & Spirits and Garnet Wines & Liquors in New York.