Design: Their Plates Are Smashing

A group of top architects produce a classy line of tableware

Couturiers do it, television stars do it, even educated socialites do it. They "design"-and autograph-all kinds of housewares, from teacups to towels, cashing in on their celebrity status. Now they are getting competition from a less flashy but doubtless more highly qualified quarter: a group of internationally renowned architects.

In a unique venture, a fledgling New York City firm called Swid Powell was formed to commission the architects to design china, crystal and silverware for the $4 billion-a-year "tabletop" market. The resulting collection...

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