Mono Ring has been missing: on the table, in the office, at friends’ homes, and we missed it too. We were very uneasy about it.
So finally we have decided to bring Mono Ring back home. For us the Mono Ring story continues, but for many it is just about to start. This is going to be exciting.
The designer Peter Raacke, together with the graphic designer Karl-Oskar Blase and then managing director Herbert Seibel, established the brand Mono at the late 1950’s and also designed the flatware experiment Mono Ring in 1962. Mono Ring was in the market for three decades and became a classic. The young designer Mark Braun, 47 years younger than Peter Raacke, only knew Mono Ring from the design literature. He studied the original design intensively and reinterpreted it for its reintroduction.
Raacke’s idea of 1962 remains strong: flatware that does not need a drawer and does not have to be placed next to the plate. Instead, it hangs visibly and handy on a cross-shaped rack in the center of the table and diners around the table help themselves. This invitation to self-service broke radically with the fine manners at the bourgeois table. Today the rebellious table culture seems very natural. However, Mono Ring has a convincing quality in form, function and material that is strikingly different. As in the past, this design quality is again important and interesting today. For us at the Mono manufactory it has always been at the center of what we do.
Mono Ring has been a bestseller for many years, and far more than 1’000’000 units of flatware were sold worldwide. The portfolio grew and grew – from teaspoons to corkscrews to coat hangers. Five years after its debut, Mono Ring design was recognized and added to the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, a significant recognition for both the designer and the manufacturer. When dishwashers became household appliance in the 1980’s, the handles material of Mono Ring were not suitable for the dishwasher cleaning and the handle material was switched to plastic until the year 1994 when the collection was discontinued.
Mark Braun deals with the essentials and objects we use in everyday life in his design work. Many everyday products have legendary role models that makes the task interesting and attractive for him. He always wonders what connects us today with the things we use in our everyday life and how do they become part of our story. With these questions in mind he was also looking for a new approach for Mono Ring. Wilhelm Seibel, Mono’s managing director, together with Mark Braun presented the results to Peter Raacke. After a intensive examination he gave his blessing: “You can do that!”
In 2018, a new chapter in flatware history begins for Mono Ring. Revised and refreshed in its form and available in five contemporary colors. Its handle combines latest research and high-tech material. Hanging on the rack in the middle of the table – that is the proper place for Mono Ring at home, in diners, in cafeterias, in bistros, and in restaurants. Enjoy your meal.
A good deal of manual work
The world is changing around us and also here in Mettmann, Germany. Throughout our history, we at Mono only adhere to two principles for generations: excellent material and masterful craftsmanship. In short, we dedicate all our skills and attention to the quality of the products from the first conceptual draft to everyday use. Mono Ring is born again with this DNA at the family business that has been in the industry since 1895.
The Mono brand was founded in 1959, when the third generation leaders of the cutlery family business laid, with courage and some luck, the foundations for a new business philosophy: functional and minimal. Peter Raacke’s design Mono A was at that time the first flatware that consistently dispensed with decorative elements. The knife was punched out of a single piece of metal, the monoblock – that’s how the name “Mono” originated.
Before a single piece of cutlery is ready to ship out, it goes through over 30 steps to become a knife and a fork that deserves the name Mono. The human hand and the scrutiny of the skilled craftsmanship are irreplaceable. The top parts of the cutlery, we call them Brandel, are punched with massive force from stainless steel panels. At the eccentric press, the contour of each piece of cutlery arises. The fork also gets its teeth. The future cutlery is still lying flat before us, so Mono Logo, name of the designer and material information can be stamped on the back of the stalk. Then the upper part, the so-called Laffe, is stamped with 600–700 tons per cm2 in form. Everything else is fine manual work. Sanding paste and two different abrasive grains prepare the fine sanding, also in the tine spaces of the fork, on the outer edges, curves and edges of the stem. The sisal disk pre-grounds, the finish is done on the natural fiber brush with brown abrasive paste for a silky matt finish. Finally, the pre-cleaning happens in the ultrasound, before the last polish is made by hand with fine, white cotton gloves. In the manual quality control the staff check and insure that every piece of cutlery has been worked perfectly and meets our high quality standards of manufacturing.
Now only the Mono Ring handle is missing. For this we use a high quality, modern plastic that is food and dishwasher safe, temperature resistant, stable and durable. It consists of a linear polymer to which 1.5 mm glass fiber for stability and glass balls for a balanced weight are added. The Mono Ring handles are manufactured in a plastic injection molding in Velbert, 15 km from the Mono Manufactory in Mettmann. Due to a sophisticated internal structure of the plastic handles, the stainless steel cutlery tops can be firmly mounted in the polymer handle. Mono Ring can finally now get out on the tables of the world, start its own story and make eating more beautiful.