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Swid Powell

The New York City–based tableware company Swid Powell produced some of the most distinctive china and silver of the 1980s in collaboration with international architects and designers. It enjoyed renewed attention in 2007, when the Yale University Art Gallery mounted the exhibition “The Architect’s Table: Swid Powell and Postmodern Design,” celebrating the donation to its collection of the company’s papers.

Swid Powell was established in 1982 by Nan Swid and Addie Powell, who met while working at the modernist furniture company Knoll. Their idea was to translate the aesthetics of postmodern design from the skyscraper to the dining table, and they brought into their preliminary discussions nine prominent architects. Among these were Philip Johnson, Stanley Tigerman and Richard Meier, all of whom expressed enthusiasm about making their designs accessible beyond the small group with the funds to commission buildings from them.

The first Swid Powell collection was launched in 1984, accompanied by a bold, graphic print campaign in keeping with the era’s advertising trends. The company’s best-known collaboration was with Robert Venturi’s Philadelphia-based firm, Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, whose patterns — particularly the floral design Grandmother inspired by a tablecloth Venturi saw at the home of a colleague's grandmother — adorned Swid Powell porcelain as well as furniture and clothing.

The firm also partnered with architect Richard Meier, whose geometric designs were inspired in part by those of Josef Hoffmann and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Swid Powell also worked with Arata Isosaki, Ettore Sottsass, Zaha Hadid and George Sowden, creating products that incorporated the bright, saturated colors and popular and historical references, like Classical columns, that animated postmodern design in the 1980s. The Chicago Blue china pattern designed for Swid Powell by the firm Gwathmey Siegel references the distinctive patterns of Frank Lloyd Wright’s leaded glass windows. As you will see in the examples below, Swid Powell continued to produce fine, fashionable homewares throughout the decade and beyond.

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Related Creators
Steven Holl Patinated Bronze Candlestick for Swid Powell rare Postmodern Memphis
By Swid Powell, Steven Holl
Located in San Diego, CA
patinated bronze candlestick designed by American architect Steven Holl for Swid Powell c.1980's , very rare tall candlestick hard to find very collectible in a verdigris finish sta...

20th Century American Post-Modern Swid Powell



Modern Letter Opener Richard Meier
By Swid Powell
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Classic post modern design. Form + function. Whimsical spinning cube. Signs of wear. Some scratches on the tip with patina. Presents well. Nice desk accessory...

Late 20th Century Italian Modern Swid Powell


Silver Plate, Brass

Big Dripper Coffee Set by Michael Graves for Swid Powell, 1987 USA
By Swid Powell, Michael Graves (b.1934)
Located in Chicago, IL
The now famous "Big Dripper" by Michael Graves. A humorous name for a grand creation: a 14 cups coffee maker with creamer, sugar and spoon. A design landmark, at the intersection of ...

1980s American Post-Modern Vintage Swid Powell


Ceramic, Porcelain

1987 Big Dripper Ceramic Coffee Set Michael Graves for Swid Powell
By Michael Graves (b.1934), Swid Powell
Located in Chula Vista, CA
1987 Postmodern Big Dripper Coffee Set by Michael Graves for Swid Powell High gloss white glaze large pot, filter holder, and lid with gold decoration and brick red base. Large Coffe...

1980s Japanese Post-Modern Vintage Swid Powell



Swid Powell - Robert Mapplethorpe Porcelain Plates, Orchid - Flower - Calla Lily
By Swid Powell, Robert Mapplethorpe
Located in GRONINGEN, NL
Black and white porcelain collectors plates by Swid Powell and Robert Mapplethorpe. The set contains the plates ''Orchid'' - 1987 , "Flower" 1986 and ''Calla Lily'' - 1984. All have ...

1980s Japanese Modern Vintage Swid Powell



Richard Meier Candleholders for Swid Powell
By Swid Powell, Richard Meier
Located in Chicago, IL
Richard Meier Candleholders for Swid Powell, Silver-plated brass,Both stamped RM MADE IN ITALY SILVER PLATED with copyright

1980s Italian Post-Modern Vintage Swid Powell


Silver Plate

Set of 21 Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman's 'Tuxedo' for Swid Powell Various Porcelain
By Gwathmey Siegel & Assoc, Swid Powell
Located in Southampton, NY
Set of 21 Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman's design 'Tuxedo' for Swid Powell - Various Porcelain pieces 3 Salad plates 7.75" diameter 3 Dinn...

20th Century American Swid Powell



Elsa Rady for Swid Powell Silver Plate Post Modern Form Bowl or Vessel Argentina
By Swid Powell, Elsa Rady
Located in Atlanta, GA
A beautiful and striking post modern style silver plate bowl by Elsa Rady for Swid Powell circa 1990's. The strong geometric lines of the lip are softened by the gentle curve of the ...

Late 20th Century Argentine Post-Modern Swid Powell


Metal, Silver Plate

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Swid Powell furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Swid Powell furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of metal and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Swid Powell furniture, although silver editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original furniture by Swid Powell were created in the modern style in europe during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Richard Meier, Alessi, and Marco Zanini. Prices for Swid Powell furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $175 and can go as high as $8,950, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $1,200.

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