The Curvy and Sensuous Designs of Eva Zeisel

While some people might be looking forward to retirement—the golden years where one doesn’t have to work any longer—that arrangement doesn’t work for those who have found and lived their passions their whole lives, like the industrial designer Eva Zeisel. Now over 100 years of age, Zeisel is known for working well into her 90s, still producing great work. We just love her style and think it deserves a mention!

Known mostly for her ceramic work, she’s also worked in a number of furniture designs and other home accessories. She did most of her schooling at a time when Bauhaus’ aesthetic reigned, where straight lines and bold colors were the norm. Zeisel’s ceramic and pottery designs more resemble the curves of the human body—very soft, very sensuous. Working in ceramic, furniture, metal and glass, she always created her projects in sets that related to one another or other objects. And many of her designs even “nested” together to create multi-piece, modern designs. Good-looking, but also space saving.

Originally from Hungary, Zeisel was born Eva Striker. Her early career saw her as a designer for the Schramberger Majolikafabrik in the Black Forest region of Germany. There she spent years working on designs for tea sets, vases, inkwell and other small house designs. Her early work did reflect a very Bauhaus-esque appearance, but she soon grew into her own, successful aesthetic. She was briefly imprisoned due to war, but eventually made her way to the United States, where she continued to find success with her ceramic and furniture designs.

Once in the U.S she actually started designing for pretty large-sized companies like General Mills, Rosenthal China, Castelton China and more. Zeisel was also proud to share her knowledge, and eventually became a professor of industrial design at the Pratt Institute in New York. In a stunning career highlight, in 1946, she had a one-woman show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

As you could imagine, trying to fit an entire lifetime of work into one article isn’t easy; Zeisel’s body of work is huge, and much of it is still available today. We found a wonderful article on If It’s Hip, It’s Here that really does a great job of going in-depth into her life’s work, and you can of course learn about her on her website. And if you think she’s done at her age, she’s not: Eva released two designs in 2010: the Eva Zeisel Lounge Chair (featured in the February 2010 issue of O Magazine) and Eva Zeisel Salt & Pepper Shakers (April 2010 issues of O Magazine).