May 19th, 2021
Why is our butter dish called Iris?
Many years ago, and for many decades, a restaurant in Vila Nova de Famalicão (Portugal) located at a service station was a gastronomic reference for travel guides.
It was a mandatory stop for fuel supply and, of course, for having lunch or dinner. That restaurant was called Íris and, unfortunately, closed a few years ago, leaving many with their hearts broken.
Among its amenities, such as the silver cutlery, was the butter also served in small silver cylinders with holes on the top.
When the restaurant closed, we desperately tried to buy one of these butter dishes for a souvenir. But it was impossible. In its final dismantles, they had all disappeared … Nobody knew where they were …
A few years later, still missing the restaurant and the butter cylinders, João Faria decides to reproduce them for himself. He spoke to a goldsmith and had the first prototype made for what would become Iris. However, the piece did not look as he wanted, and, disappointed, he kept it in a kitchen drawer for several years.
In 2014, he decided to present the butter dish in a design contest promoted by the Serralves Museum in Porto – POPs Objects. In the previous year, the Bluetooth speakers OLD FRIEND were finalists, and João wanted to repeat the excellent experience.
The piece was redesigned for its current clean shape and size. Instead of silver, polished stainless steel 316 (suitable for food use) was the chosen material.
One of the requirements of the POPs contest was to name the pieces. That was an easy task because the name came naturally – Iris – in honor of the cherished restaurant, with its cylinder-shaped silver jars of butter.
At the contest, Iris was selected for the final. On the day of its presentation to the jury, an early summer afternoon, the butter proved to be such a challenge that would give another story alone.
The presentation went well, but nothing made us think we were going to win. On the contrary, we were just about to abandon the awards ceremony earlier. We just didn’t do it because some staff elements convinced us to stay a few more minutes.
Tired and thinking about the next day’s professional commitments (João Faria was a teacher back then), we were bored at the back of the room. Then, surprisingly, our butter dish was announced as the first prize in the 2014 Decorative Objects category. We became almost hysterical! The first prize ever won has an extraordinary and unrepeatable flavor.
After this victory, poor Iris returned to the kitchen drawer a few more months. Until the beginning of 2015, when João decided to compete with her again, this time for an international design award. And, once again, Iris won with gold!
This second victory gave the most needed push for the formal start of Emotional Objects as a commercial brand – trademark registration, logo, website, catalogs, etc. Everything that hadn’t been done before, because it was only for fun.
For this reason, we often say that, although small, Iris was responsible for the birth of Emotional Objects. Without her, we might not be here.