Design Icon

Design Icon: Marianne Brandt Teapot

by Maxwell Tielman

Design*Sponge | Design Icon: Marianne Brandt Teapot. Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg

Design: Teapot

Designer: Marianne Brandt (German, 1883-1983)

Date: 1924

Country of Origin: Germany

Materials: Silver body, ebony handle

Background: This teapot is the work of Marianne Brandt, a student of the famed and incalculably influential Bauhaus school in Germany. Under the tutelage of founder Walter Gropius, students of the Bauhaus were directed to design according to the tenets of industrial Modernism. Gropius believed that good design should consist only of a few, easily legible parts that could be mass-produced in a factory setting. This teapot, with its industrial materials and clearly visible construction fits the bill perfectly. The great irony of designs such as this (and many Modernist designs in general) is that, despite being developed for low-cost industrial production, many have become luxury objects today, produced in small quantities and sold at high prices. Although Marianne Brandt’s teapot met a similar fate, it was still massively influential on the design of mass-market kitchenware throughout the twentieth century.

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  • If I had $350,000 to spend on a teapot, this would be the one! Love the insightful comment about the irony of so much Modernist furniture being intended to bring great design to the masses but becoming priced out of reach to all but a few. At least we can enjoy the pieces in museums.

  • the bauhaus museum + shop (in Berlin) was selling them when I visited last year. a limited edition I think? price unknown but these newly-made ones couldn’t get to the six-figure mark!

  • This is such a fabulous design! I think that antique designs have so much more character than modern designs that all end up looking the same. I do favor antique silver teapots, however i do work in that industry so i may be influenced by this : )