Collection Online

Coffee and tea service
designed (1983); manufactured 1985

Medium
sterling silver, painted aluminium, opaque synthetic polymer resin, silver, plastic, glass
Measurements
(a-i) 27.3 × 41.4 cm diameter (overall)
Place/s of Execution
Italy
Edition
ed. 17/99
Inscription
(a) engraved (vertically) in base c.l.: (eagle) / OFFICINA / ALESSI / mG (monogram) / 1985 / 17/99 / ITALY
punched (vertically) in base c.: (star) 230 VI 925
(b) punched in outside edge of lower rim: (star) 230 VI 925
(c) engraved (vertically) in base c.l.: (eagle) / OFFICINA / ALESSI / mG (monogram) / 1985 / 17/99 / ITALY
punched (diagonally) in base c.: (star) 230 VI 925
(d) punched in outside edge of lower rim (star) 230 VI 925
punched (vertically) in outside edge of lower rim: 2
(e) engraved (vertically) in base c.l.: (eagle) / OFFICINA / ALESSI / mG (monogram) / 1985 / 17/99 / ITALY
punched (vertically) in outside in base c.: (star) 230 VI 925
(f) punched (vertically) in outside edge of lower rim: 4
punched in outside edge of lower rim: (star) 230 VI 925
(g) punched (diagonally) in outside edge of base of bowl: (star) 230 VI 925
(h) engraved (vertically) in base c.l.: (eagle) / OFFICINA / ALESSI / mG (monogram) / 1985 / 17/99
punched (vertically) in base c.: (star) 230 VI 925 / ITALY
(i) engraved in outside edge of upper rim c.r.: (eagle) OFFICINA / ITALY mG (monogram) 1985 17/99 ITALY
Accession Number
D22.a-i-1984
Department
International Decorative Arts
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1984
Gallery location
18th Century Decorative Arts - Great Hall Costume Corridor
Level 2, NGV International
Physical description
(a-b) Square section body, fluted sides extend into four legs supported on pyramidal feet, flat top, conical lid. (c-d) Square section body, fluted sides extend into four legs supported on pyramidal feet, flat top, conical lid. (e-f) Square section body, fluted sides extend into four legs supported on pyramidal feet, conical lid. (g) Circular bowl, thin straight handle, circular in section, spherical knob in blue lacquered aluminium. (h) Square section body, fluted sides extend into four legs supported on pyramidal feet, mock ivory handle. (i) Circular, rests on six spherical feet, mock ivory handles.
This Tea and coffee service by the American architect Michael Graves exemplifies his highly decorative approach to design during the 1980s. His playful use of colour and materials directly challenged long-held modernist principles of clean, streamlined forms with minimal decoration, seen in the sky blue plastic finials, the mock ivory handles and the black bakelite feet. Graves’s designs often referenced past styles and this service pays particular homage to Josef Hoffmann’s architecturally-inspired designs of the early twentieth century. Nevertheless, it is an example of the latest trends in post-modern design in the 1980s, as celebrated by the Memphis design studio.