Italian design office Make That Studio has unveiled a jug based on the water-smoothed shapes of riverbed pebbles (+ slideshow).
The oval jug takes its cues from an ancient Sicilian container that dates back hundreds of years and was typically used to store oil or water – although it is now mostly sold as a souvenir in the district of Caltagirone.
The distinguishing feature of the jug is a stoppered funnel that leads up from the base, allowing it to be filled from the bottom.
Traditionally the container was conical-shaped and featured a protruding side spout. But Make That Studio referred to the water-smoothed shapes of pebbles found in the Simeto – the main river that runs through Sicily – for its redesign. Its version is named Pètra.
Like its predecessor, the ceramic container has a hole in the bottom that means it can be filled from an inverted position, as well as a single puncture hole in one side that allows liquid to be poured in a thin stream.
"We wanted to give a new life to the aesthetics of this jug, creating a contemporary tableware accessory that represents the history of the Sicilian island, characterised by countless cultural influences," said the studio, who work across a range of disciplines including graphic design, art direction and styling.
The limited-edition jugs are available in both glossy white and matt stone from Improntabarre, and come as numbered pieces.
Other designers have also dabbled with reinventing jugs for contemporary audiences. Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola reinterpreted a Basque jug design for Bilbao restaurants, retaining its distinctive slanted shape, while Ian Aandersson purposefully deformed traditional shapes to increase functionality.