You may recognize the name Eva Zeisel from the Crave Worthy coffee table we recently featured, but her name is synonymous with much more than a place to rest your drinks. Eva Zeisel is a world renowned Hungarian industrial designer known for her work with ceramics. She was born in Budapest on November 13, 1906, and is still designing to this day at 101 years of age. In 1935, Zeisel was named the artistic director of the China and Glass Industry of Russia. A year later, in 1936, while living in Moscow, she was falsely accused of plotting against Stalin, arrested and imprisoned for 16 months, 12 of which were in solitary confinement. Even then, she said, “I kept designing in my mind to stay normal. Not to be crazy. It was a way to survive.”
Her design career really took off when she moved to the US in 1938. She designed for companies like General Mills, Rosenthal China, and Castelton China, and she also taught one of the first courses in industrial design at New York's Pratt Institute. In 2005, she received the National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement by the National Design Museum, Smithsonian, and her designs are shown in museums and sold in stores all over the world. In the last 15 years, Zeisel has taken her organic approach to ceramics, from the potter's wheel to the tabletop, with a collection of undulating wooden, glass-top tables, and other sensuous collectibles, which are available at Eva Zeisel Originals, an internet-based retail store founded by her grandson, Adam Zeisel. Her Classic Century Dinnerware collection ($60-$253) is also available at Crate & Barrel, and many ceramics and other housewares at Unica Home.
To see photos of Eva and her work, read more