Dezeen Magazine

Peter Zumthor for Alessi

Glassware by 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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