Whilst browsing in a hip vintage/antique store by my apartment – the same place I once found a mint-condition yellow Parker Big Red pen – I came across a striking set of four espresso cups and saucers designed by Massimo Vignelli – i.e., the guy who, among other things, designed the classic 1972 New York subway map – that I bought immediately.
On vignelli.com, he explains the concept behind them:
Decoration is usually obtained by adding something. Since our design process is based on subtraction, we obtained decoration by removing the glaze from the edges, exposing the material. An unusual, but effective way to achieve product identity.