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05.01.2023 | Perspective

Reimagining the Familiar

As we start the year, we reflect on one of ENSEMBL's founding principles: a desire to reimagine the familiar.

ENSEMBL high-performance cookware


Kate Swanson

Reimagining is part of our DNA.


As we start the year anew, take a moment to step back, reflect on where everything started, and remember that, at its core, ENSEMBL was founded on a desire to reimagine the familiar.


As we move into 2023 – what does that mean?

ENSEMBL high-performance cookware
Image + Artwork by Jacob Janerka

It means reimagining the goals of optimization.


It includes evaluating when something is enough; when more doesn’t mean better.


It means reimagining what it means to be doing it right and what the ideal version of functionality looks like.

Image + Artwork by Jacob Janerka

Reimagine “Doing it Right”


We think of a lot of concepts as they apply to cooking and meal times.


There was a time when we thought making a meal had mean making it end-to-end on the night it was served in order for it to be done right.


But what if that could just be reheating some great leftovers? Or taking something made in bulk from the freezer?


** FYI, Stackware is made (and sized) for you to make more than a single serve meal! And designed to help you store in the fridge, and reheat on both the stovetop and oven.


In 2023, cook smarter not harder, and let leftovers and make-ahead-freeze meals rule.


Recalibrate your routine and get ready with recipes that excel on day two (and three and four!) and do just as well coming out of a deep freeze. Save your time and effort for a grand meal made hot and served immediately for when it really counts. (Stackware will be here for those nights, too!)


In that spirit, here are four of our favorite big batch meals that are great to reheat – both from the freezer and from the fridge.


Enjoy 😊

Cone Lamps by Alex Garnett
Reimagining ENSEMBL cone lamps by Alex Garnett
Cone Lamps by Alex Garnett
Reimagining ENSEMBL the French Dispatch Wes Anderson
The French Dispatch directed by Wes Anderson, 2020

Reimagine Functionality


As we reimagine functionality, we’ve thought a lot about 24 hours of use – how do we use a space or a thing or our time over a 24 hour period.


For a space – are we designing it to get a lot out of it during one specific time of the day, or for a single activity? Or can we make small changes in order to create a space that is more fluid, capable of transitioning?


In that spirit, check out these:


First, the OG shape-shifting masters, Ryokans.


Second, the stories of 5 businesses that are blowing up the traditional confines of purpose and blending different uses into a singular space.


We love this kind of multi-functionality. And love those who ambitiously walk away from the status quo.

The French Dispatch directed by Wes Anderson, 2020
reimagine ENSEMBL innovative multi-functional cookware

For a thing – how it handles its primary task is of course important, but what about how that thing exists (or how it manages to be useful) for the rest of the day? This should be equally important.


Using ENSEMBL’s design journey as an example, our frustration started with legacy cookware designs; those focused only on how a product functioned while it was cooking, but disregarded how a product would be used / stored for the remaining 23+ hours of the day.


Building a beautiful storage-state into Stackware’s blueprint is part of its DNA. Similarly, creating a design cookware concept that can handle storing leftovers in the fridge and serving a meal at the table. This level of functionality is crucial and part of what makes Stackware shine.

Lastly, reflecting on how we use our time, let’s be conscious of of (precious) time is used this year and how to realistically get the most from it.


Lean into the findings of a study on daydreaming, discussed in detail in this 2022 NYT article. The study concluded that people find more creative solutions to problems if they take a break from solving and switch to an undemanding task while daydreaming, rather than doubling down on the problem or mediating on it.


Let that sink in.

Melting clock inspired by Salvador Dali
Salvador Dali reimagining ENSEMBL high-performance cookware
Melting clock inspired by Salvador Dali

In that spirit, this year, in order to be more productive and creative, resolve to regularly carve out time to get lost in thought. But following the advice of the study, make sure some of this time is co-occupied by mundane tasks.


So this year, let the goal be to generate new ideas and better paths forward while taking care of necessary odd jobs –  like sharpening knives, ironing favorite button downs, and giving Stackware a deep clean.


Here’s to a year of unexpectedly creative solutions to each challenge that may arise – and let us never stop reimagining a better way to move forward.


Cheers to the new year.



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