Peter Shire’s “Tea for Two Hundred”

We have some pretty fantastic subjects coming your way next week, but before we take off for the weekend, we felt it our civic duty to alert Los Angeles readers to an opening tonight at the Santa Monica Museum of Art for one of our favorite designers, Peter Shire. When we first visited Shire two summers ago for Paper View, we were well aware of his work for Memphis, his public art, and his too-hot-to-keep-in-stock ceramic cups. But it wasn’t until we were touring his actual studio and came upon a massive sculpture made from metal, wood, and other found objects, that we were introduced to his “teapots.” Shire swears that each one is functional, though his wife jokes that though you can send water through them, it might not get to the spout. But function in these pieces is beside the point; the eight pots on view at the museum’s “Tea for Two Hundred” exhibition tonight range in height from two to six feet tall. Shire approaches the cartoonishly large teapots in a way that other designers usually reserve for more practical objects like chairs: “Throughout his career,” writes curator Elsa Longhauser, “he has continually reinvented the object, using it as an armature to experiment with material, scale, and function.”

We’ll have more photos for you next week of the actual installation but here’s a teaser — and, for those who are DIY inclined, a primer from Shire’s own site on how to make your own!