Paola Navone's Metroquardro collection

Leave it to the Italians to upend the age-old art of designing dinnerware. Since Paola Navone—a visionary designer, architect, and art director for the likes of Knoll, Armani Casa, and Swarovski—became artistic director of Richard Ginori 1735 in 2009, this once-traditional porcelain company hasn’t stopped making news. Working with six plate shapes in use since the mid-1700s, Navone reinterprets tradition with her Metroquadro collection, decorated on the underside (faces are white, with blue rims and black logos). Boutique owner Dianne Crosell (Crosell & Co., 900 N. Michigan Ave., 312-266-4500) spotted them at the Maison & Objet show in Paris last fall and loved the split personality of traditional shapes with bold modern designs and colors. Each plate is created for and dedicated to one of 170 Italian food companies; mixing patterns is part of the fun. The pieces are terrific for displaying on a wall (a set of 18 fills a three-foot square) or for eating on—preferably on a reflective tabletop. Individual plates are $75 to $125; a set runs $1,930. Sets are also available at Tabula Tua (1015 W. Armitage Ave., 888-535-6590).