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Timelessly classic and sumptuous - Alberto Pinto Table Settings book (2009)

Dear readers, sometimes life did give you something unexpected, just like the other weekend for instance, when I was scouting for some ideas about table top setting for my upcoming fragrance campaign for my social media page, I stumbled across in a bookstore, at the dark corner of one of their bookshelves in the ‘cooking’ section, a very discreet and dark book just caught my eye! Instead of a typical cookbook about teaching people how to cook a presentable and delicious meal, it is all about the sumptuous table setting work by a reputed late interior designer, Alberto Pinto; To my amazement, this book was sitting in a quiet corner without being noticed at all, but to me, I’ve heard about the remarkable interior design work by Alberto but never got a chance to dive deep into his vision and passion about ‘l'art de vivre’, as the result, this book went home with me that afternoon.

Published by Rizzoli New York back in 2009 and currently out of print, ‘Alberto Pinto Table Settings’ is a precious and sumptuous copy of coffee table book, for those who appreciates tasteful and impeccable interior design, especially by Alberto’s, and his private entertaining work. As the foreword written by Claire Chazal, the table setting work by Alberto “is not formal and affected but free, imaginative, and joyous.", perhaps taking references from Alberto’s own interior design aesthetic – contemporary classic, crisp and chic with a twist of modern art surprises, such artistic flair did reflect on his table setting whenever he hosted the entertaining receptions for his esteemed and elite guests. The discreet detail from the floral arrangement, either it’s the clean and crispy white orchid or fluffy hydrangeas, or a vibrant and joyous colorful mix of roses and peonies, to the precious and exquisite tableware pieces, the collection varies from the traditional and colorful Chinese pattern plates (looks like it’s from the ‘Tang’ dynasty; see how much the designer embraces the cultural diversity!), to the imperial patterned Viennese crystal glassware by Lobmeyr, alongside with luxurious silverware and 18th century Fitzgibbon centerpiece, the overall presentation is simply impeccable!

Just when you think that it might take a lot of time for this designer to come up with these beautiful ideas, the reality is, according to the book, it just comes up in a matter of minutes! Each idea of table setting comes from what the designer sees during the day, whether it’s the flower that delivered in the early morning, or something that clicks him in that particular moment, it comes from Alberto’s instinct, spontaneity, and his rapid reactivity. One of the thing that I like the most about the table setting work by Alberto, is his love (and collecting) over precious crystalware and silverware, which is also something that I am interested about; one may find the eccentric yet stylish setting with a white crystal sphere as a décor on the dining table, or a whimsical floral garland that supported by several figurines, which creates something unexpected but interesting to look at and talk about over a memorable dinner.

While this book and the setting is back in a decade ago, to me as a stylish table setting reference, these technique never goes out of style at all, in fact, I didn’t know how many household nowadays are willing to pay that much of attention and effort to create such remarkable and stylish setting for their guests (well, maybe the French blue-blooded aristocrats or the European royalties), but as a lifestyle enthusiast, this book is a perfect reference for the ultimate ‘l’art de vivre’ (art of living), not only as a collector, connoisseur or stylish host (or hostess), but as a designer or professionals from the art field to express their passion and love about living life in the fullest and stylish way, simply not doing it to impress the guest only, but also a way to weave a life with beauty and meaning.

As mentioned earlier, this book is currently out of print, just in case if you stumble across a bookstore (or your next vintage find) next time and see this copy, I highly suggest you to grab it, especially, if you are a big fan of Alberto’s interior design, and a passionate individual about sumptuous table setting and art of living.


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