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Coffee pot
  • Coffee pot
    Alessandro Mendini, born 1931 - died 2019
  • Enlarge image

Coffee pot

  • Place of origin:

    Milan (made)

  • Date:

    1983 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Alessandro Mendini, born 1931 - died 2019 (designer)
    Alessi (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Electroplated silver

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Silver, Room 68, The Whiteley Galleries, case 5, shelf 1

This is a prototype for a series of 11 tea and coffee services. Officina Alessi, a subdivision of Alessi s.p.a. of Milan, commissioned the series from international architects. It was made in silver in a limited edition of 99.

The economic recessions of the 1970s and 1980s permanently altered the manufacturing industries of Europe. The optimism of the immediate post-war period was swept away. After the Second World War, design had been concerned with changing society. By the 1980s, it was associated merely with marketing and 'lifestyle'. Silversmiths could no longer subsidise their craft by design consultancies. Nor could they claim that they were part of the mainstream culture. The individual silversmith returned to operating in a niche market. In some respects, this had a curiously liberating effect. In Europe from the 1970s, there was increasing attention on personal expression, often using curved, sensual surfaces. There was less emphasis on a unified aesthetic philosophy and the range of work became more diverse.
In Italy, postmodern experiments redefined the public perception of modernism. With their Tea & Coffee Piazza series, Alessi created a group of startling tableaux that excited world attention. Barely functional, some incorporated obvious historical references. All show a degree of deconstruction, an architectural and sculptural movement that surfaced during the 1980s.

Physical description

Electroplated silver on copper, coffee pot, teapot, milk jug, sugar bowl, sugar spoon, tray.

Place of Origin

Milan (made)


1983 (made)


Alessandro Mendini, born 1931 - died 2019 (designer)
Alessi (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Electroplated silver

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed: Officina Alessi Italy P.A. TE. 22 (-25)
Tray inscribed: (eagle above ) Officina Alessi, Alessi, Italy Inox 18/10, Epss P.A.


Width: 21.5 cm, Depth: 12.5 cm, Height: 24 cm

Object history note

Acquisition RF: 87/279
Max Protech Inc.
560 Broadway
New York
Purchased for $10000
A prototype for the series of eleven tea and coffee services commissioned from architects by Officina Alessi s.p.a., Milan and made of limited edition of silver.
Measurements of individual pieces:
Coffee Pot: W 21.5 D 12.5 H 24.0; Tea pot: W 23.0 D 13.5 H 21.5; Cream Jug: W 9.0 D 7.0 H 18.0; Sugar Bowl: D 11.0 H 8.0; Spoon: L 11.0; Tray: D 45.0 H 3.0

Descriptive line

Electroplate, Continental, 20th c.

Labels and date

Electroplated silver on copper
Italy, Milan, 1983
Made by Officina Alessi, A division of Alessi spa, Milan
Designed by Kazumasa Yamashita (b.Japan 1937)
Inscribed OFFICINA / ALESSI / ITALY / PA / TE 54 (-58)
A prototype for a series of eleven tea and coffee services commissioned from international architects by Officina Alessi and made in a limited edition of 99 in silver.
M.59-e,-1988 []


Metalwork; Tea, Coffee & Chocolate wares


Metalwork Collection

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