In 1979 eleven international architects were commissioned to design limited-edition tea and coffee services by the Italian firm Alessi. Every set had to include six pieces and had to function in the normal way. Perhaps not unexpectedly, many of the services look like tiny buildings or parts of buildings.
Designer Michael Graves, American, 1934 - 2015
Manufacturer Alessi, S.p.a., Italian, founded 1921
Title
  • Coffee and Tea Service
  • Tea and Coffee Piazza (series title)
Date 1983
Medium silver plate, lacquered aluminum, Bakelite, glass, and mock ivory
Dimensions Overall (approx): 10 5/8 × 16 3/8 × 16 inches (27 × 41.6 × 40.6 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase with funds from Founders Junior Council, James Pearson Duffy Fund, Lenora and Alfred Glancy Foundation Fund, Modern Decorative Arts and Sculpture Fund, Dr. and Mrs. George Kamperman Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Alvan Macauley, Jr. Fund
Accession Number V2015.13
Department Contemporary Art after 1950
Not On View
1986-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Tea and Coffee Piazza. Exh. cat., Officina Alessi and Max Protetch Gallery. New York, 1983-1986, pp. 9, 20, 34-37 (ill.).

"Recent acquisitions." Bulletin of the DIA 63, nos. 3/4 (1988): 59 (ill.).

Giovannini, J. "Design Notebook: Tea services with a Touch of the Architect." New York Times, November 17, 1983, home section, C 12.

Adams, N. "New for Tea: Architects Press Form into Service." Chicago Tribune, January 22, 1984, (ill.).

"Architecture Argent." Progressive Architecture (January 1984): 23 (ill.).

White, C. "Designer Teasets." San Diego Magazine (May 1984): 172-175 (ill.).

Chase, M. "The Architect's Tea Party." The Wall Street Journal, April 25, 1984, p. 28 (ill.).

Matzdorf, K. "Architecture in Silver." Metalsmith (Spring 1984): 36-38 (ill.).

Adams, N. "New for Tea: Architects Press Form into Service." Chicago Tribune, January 22, 1984, np.

Giovanni, J. "Tea Services with the Touch of an Architect." The New York Times, November 17, 1983, section C, p. 12.

Adams, B. "Architects at Tea." House and Garden, pp. 52-55.

Cumming, H. "The Design Object of An International Survey." Art and Design.

Bulletin of the DIA 63, no. 3/4 (1998).