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While designing the enlightenment coffeehouse, we quickly realised that everything, even the china, should represent the dynamic nature of the RSA and its Fellowship. But how could the tableware enrich the coffeehouse experience and foster collaboration and debate?

Fortunately the RSA has within its Fellowship a network of the UKs top designers, known as the Royal Designers for Industry (RDI). RDI Robin Levien, one of the most successful product designers of the last 25 years, stepped in to help. To Robin, the solution was simple: ‘Talking Tableware’ – thought-provoking words printed on the china to get conversation flowing between strangers.

Exploring initial concepts from L - R: Adam Timmins, RSA Deputy Director of Fellowship; Robin Levien FRSA RDI, Studio Levien; Mary Leonard, Studio Levien; Oliver Reichardt, RSA Director of Fellowship; David Pearson FRSA RDI, Type as Image.

Working alongside Robin, as the other half of a formidable design duo, is RDI David Pearson. If you don’t immediately recognise the name, you probably have one of his iconic book covers somewhere on your bookshelf.

Together Robin and David are creating tableware fit for a 21st-century enlightenment, but we'll have to wait until the launch of the coffeehouse to see the final design. In the meantime, let us know what words you think should appear on the tableware to spark new conversations and connections.

Personally, we’re looking forward to our first slice of cake off a very interesting plate.

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