Tea & Coffee Piazza

Michael Graves, Designer (American, 1934-2015)
Officina Alessi, Manufacturer (Italian)

Not Currently on View
Image Licensing

The Italian manufacturer Alessi, known for kitchen and household wares, launched a new project in 1980 by asking eleven architects to design tabletop sets. Known as the “Tea & Coffee Piazza” program, each was asked to design a tray to serve as a “piazza” (city square) with the vessels to stand like buildings on it.

As in his architecture, Michael Graves’s design for Alessi plays on classical Greco-Roman architectural forms, while introducing color and whimsy. Here the sterling silver vessels are square like buildings, not rounded like conventional coffee and teapots, and their surfaces are fluted like classical columns. This set designed by Graves became the best seller of the “Piazza” program.

Officina Alessi, Milan, Italy; purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2010.

Object Information

Michael Graves (American, 1934-2015)
Officina Alessi (Italian)
creation date
designed 1980-1983, made 2010
sterling silver, lacquered aluminum, polyamide, Bakelite, and crystal
10-7/8 x 6-1/8 x 6-1/8 in. (installed)
.1) tray: 3-3/8 x 16-1/8 x 16-1/8 in.
.2A-B) coffee pot and lid: 9-3/4 x 10-3/8 x 4-7/8 in. (installed)
.2A) coffee pot: 9 x 10-3/8 x 4-7/8 in.
.2B) lid for coffee pot: 3-1/4 x 3-1/8 x 3-1/8 in.
.3A-B) tea pot and lid 8-1/4 x 10-3/8 x 4-7/8 in. (installed)
.3A) tea pot: 7-1/2 x 10-3/8 x 4-7/8 in.
.3B) lid for tea pot: 3-1/4 x 3-1/8 x 3-1/8 in.
.4) creamer: 4 x 6 x 3-1/4 in.
.5A-B): sugar bowl and lid: 5-1/2 x 6-1/2 x 3-1/4 in. (installed)
.5A) sugar bowl: 4 x 6-1/2 x 3-1/4 in.
.5B) lid for sugar bowl: 2-1/4 x 2-1/8 x 2-1/8 in.
.5C) spoon for sugar bowl: 3-3/4 x 1-1/8 x 3/8 in.
mark descriptions
Tray (.1), coffee pot (.2A), tea pot (.3A), creamer (.4), sugar bowl (.5A) bear the following marks: [Alessi bird symbol] / OFFICINA / ALESSI / [Graves monogram] / 2010 / 71/99 / ITALY

Coffee pot and lid (.2A-B), tea pot and lid, (.3A-B), creamer, sugar bowl, lid, and spoon (.5A-C) bear the following marks: 925 [in oval] / [five-pointed star] 3 VB [in polygon]
other title
coffee and tea service comprising 6 pieces
accession number
credit line
Gift in honor of Joyce A. Sommers with funds provided by V. Simon Abraham, Lee and Dorothy Alig, Ruthelen Burns, William J. and Vickie Cafaro, Robert M. Davis, Scott Evenbeck, Russell and Penny B. Fortune, William L. Fortune Jr. and Joseph D. Blakely, Mark M. and Carmen S. Holeman, John David Hoover, Frederick M. King, Kay F. Koch, James E. and Patricia J. LaCrosse, Catharine D. Lichtenauer, Katherine C. Nagler, Nancy J. Ramsey, George J. Seybert, Trent Spence, James A. and Cheryl S. Strain, James P. and Anna S. White, Design Arts Society Fund
© Michael Graves
Design Arts

You May Also Like