The Duralex glass is proof that you can't keep a good idea, or a good design, down. Not forever, anyway. After twice teetering on the brink of bankruptcy in the 1980s, the French company is once again starting to thrive. The glasses are versatile – the southern French sip their pastis from them; in the Middle East and China, they are favoured for tea. And the design is functional, but pleasing. Add nostalgia among twenty- and thirty-something Europeans for the school canteens of yore, and the result is that Duralex has a new lease of life.
But recession may also have played its part. The other quality of these glasses is their reluctance to break. In good times, that was a disadvantage for the producer. But in bad economic times, it's a selling point. When Baccarat is beyond the budget, Duralex comes into its own. Like the nigh-ubiquitous plastic chair, it is cheap, cheerful and – almost – indestructible. Austerity has an upside after all.