Glassware by Peter Zumthor
for Alessi


Peter Zumthor for Alessi

Product news: Swiss architect Peter Zumthor has designed a collection of glass condiment containers for Italian design brand Alessi.

The five-piece set comprises a tall cruet for oils and vinegars and four smaller shakers for salt, pepper, sugar and spices. Each one has a frosted glass body and a stainless steel head.

Zumthor describes how he came up with the concept years earlier, when he made a drawing of a salt dispenser while having breakfast in a hotel. "I made a quick sketch of thin lines suggesting an object which could hold grains or liquids."

Peter Zumthor for Alessi

He explains that the sketch hung on the wall of his studio for many years until he could no longer remember what is was, and even mistook it for a skyscraper. "One day, the memory of my morning in the hotel came back to me and I recalled why I made the sketch," he said. "At once, I took the sketch down to my model workshop and asked Iris to produce a series of glycerine soap models according to the sketch, which should look like brothers and sisters, small and big but all members of the same family. She shaped a beautiful menagerie of glycerine soap objects resembling frosted glass."

Peter Zumthor is being awarded the Royal Gold Medal for architecture in a ceremony today at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London. In a lecture last night, he told an audience that his architecture is not about form-making. Past projects by Zumthor include the Steilneset Memorial in Norway and the 2011 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion.

Alessi was founded outside Milan as a metal tableware producer the 1920s, became synonymous with designer kettles in the 1980s and now works with a host of international designers including the Campana Brothers, Karim Rashid and David Chipperfield. A selection of Alessi watches is available from Dezeen Watch Store.

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  • Mitja

    Just stick to architecture.

  • flor

    I love Zumthor’s architectural work but he should stick to architecture. These objects are very Alessi and reflect in no way the aspects of time, materiality and craftsmanship he praises normally. So sad! Just boring and – I guess – expensive.

  • PureandFree

    A small part of me just died knowing that Zumthor has collaborated with a commercial firm. I have always placed Zumthor on the pedestal of independent artistic perfection.

    • Dinomonte

      You must have forgotten his earlier collaboration with Alessi. You live in a silly land of denial. Get over yourself.

      • RC_BK_NYC

        Yes @PureandFree, this is the reason why there are so many broke architects. They all think they are artists. This kind of thinking is exactly why others in the building industry wipe the floor with architects. What are you smoking!?

        This is not to say that their work is not art, but to say that architecture is a business. Design is a business. Steve Jobs never gave away anything, not even a bad idea.

        Zumthor is capitalising on his talent and rightfully so. Never mind that this sample of his talent is actually not so talented. Nevertheless, he got paid and will probably continue to do so with each sale. That’s a lot more that many of my architect colleagues.

  • Authentic

    Get over yourself.

  • Peter Scorer

    “The sketch hung on the wall of his studio for many years until he could no longer remember what is was, and even mistook it for a skyscraper,” Does this tells us that the shapes on the sketches are forgettable?

    I can get better looking condiments from IKEA – at a better price proposition :)

  • Peanuts

    SANAA = 1
    Zumthor = 0

  • Fitty

    “Architecture is not about form” – Peter Zumthor. But glassware kinda is.

  • I think it’s a hoax.

  • Hayden

    These look like form studies by a C- student.

  • Romain

    How can I acquire large blocks of glycerine soap? Are they common?

  • Paul Blackburn

    It’s a hoax right? Come on Dezeen, can you produce Iris from the ‘model workshop’ to verify for us?

  • people0places0things0

    I worked for Zumthor and saw the ones he actually designed and produced. These are far far worse. I think Alessi may have stuck their oar in.

  • tba

    Some maths: Kolumba Art Museum cost £24800 per square metre. I would guess you could fit 25 of these in a square metre, so if they are less than £1000 each they will be a bargain!

    • mimmi

      You should reconsider your math skills.

      Kolumba Art Museum total costs: 43.5 million euros (including geothermal, restoration and protection of the excavation and foundation engineering).

      43.5 million euros for 3400 square metres = 12,780 euros = 10,995 pounds.

  • alexis

    Love ’em, love ’em lots indeed.

  • The glasswares that he designed are pretty impressive compared to the usual kitchen glassware we are used to seeing. I really like the pepper and the salt shaker the most among the glasswares shown above because of their uniqueness.