February 29, 2008

Swid Powell

Have you ever heard of Swid Powell? It is actually a they... Nancy Swid and Addie Powell. They had a brilliant little tabletop company in the 80's and 90's where they commissioned architects and designers to create dishware and cutlery for them. Over the years, I had found several pieces of Swid Powell, but gave it all to a friend.

Swid & Powell had both worked for Knoll International, and then opened Swid Powell as a modernist approach to tableware. Among the luminaries who designed pieces for them are Arata Isosaki, Ettore Sottsass, Zaha Hadid, George Sowden, Richard Meier, Robert Venturi, and Michael Graves who did work for them before his affiliation with Target was a twinkle in any marketer's eye.
Additionally, Calvin Klein produced several lines for Swid Powell, including the tabletop for the re-opening of the Delano Hotel in Miami. I just found three large rimmed soup bowls by Calvin Klein for Swid Powell in the Georgica line, so I started reseaching them again.
In the summer of 2007, Yale University had an exhibition of pieced donated to them by Nancy Swid. You can read a press release here. There's also a book called Swid Powell: Objects by Architects, by Annette Tapert, but it seem to be out of print. She also wrote a book with Slim Keith, Memories of a Rich and Imperfect Life.

For such an interesting company, it's unfortunate that there's so little information about Swid Powell to be found.


  1. I was just made aware of this company as Met Home said they are re-issuing the Mapplethorpe dishes - which are wonderful black and white florals. I cannot find them anywhere, as the press often precedes the product, but they are fab.

  2. That's a name from the past. You couldn't pick up a shelter magazine during the 80s, particularly Metropolitan Home, without finding a reference to Swid Powell.

  3. I lusted after their dinnerware for years and years. I just never had the money to buy it. It is fabulous design. I'd love to see the book.

  4. Whoa!That's a name I haven't thought of in years.They were ubiquitous for a good while there.Are we entering an 80's moment?Swid Powell,floral chintz,tessellated fossil stone at Maison21's blog....hmmmm, Timney Fowler,anyone?

  5. I just compiled a "modern china" guide for design*sponge. Now all I see are plates everywhere!



  6. Love the Rainbow Room plates, brings me back to my mom taking me when I was 11. How terrific to see a pattern dedicated.

  7. Just for the record... the two patterns shown above were actually designed by Robert A.M. Stern, not Richard Meier. Meier was one of the many architects who designed objects for Swid Powell (the most prolific of all of all their designers), however these examples are by Stern.

  8. I have a Swid Powell Calvin Klein Pitcher. Does anyone know how I can find the value? Rogelia64@aol.com


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