Design Classic – Influential and important design

Extract teapot and tea caddy from the “Hallesche Form” series Marguerite Friedlander and Trude Petri
Extract teapot and tea caddy from the “Hallesche Form” series Marguerite Friedlander and Trude Petri

In 1929, the Kunstgewerbeschule Burg Giebichenstein in Halle established a distinct porcelain studio. Under the artistic leadership of Marguerite Friedlaender, as a result of a collaboration with the KPM state porcelain factory in Berlin. She designed the Hallesche Form tea and coffee set for KPM in 1930. They were a huge commercial success, especially with Trude Petri’s gold rings (1931) decor.

Marguerite Friedlander tea set – Hallessche forms

The hallmarks of this teapot, one of the finest Bauhaus designs, are simplicity of form and timeless design well-adapted to industrial fabrication. The Marguerite Friedlander tea set had a pure white glaze, and the clean surface of the teapot created an appealing and modern look. In three crucial areas, form and function are resolved; first an angled spout flows without leaking. The countersunk lid does not fall out when tilted, and the big handle makes pouring easy.

Marguerite Friendlaender, 1930 teapot KPM State porcelain factory
Marguerite Friendlaender, 1930 teapot KPM State porcelain factory

Her tea sets often reflect the Bauhaus principle of “form follows function,” combining the aesthetic and the practical. Clean lines, harmonious proportions, and understated decoration characterize them, allowing the quality of the material and the skill of the craftsmanship to speak for themselves.

Characteristics of Her Tea Sets

Typically, a Marguerite Friedländer tea set might include a teapot, teacups, saucers, a sugar bowl, and a milk jug. Craftsmen would craft each piece to serve its function while pleasing the eye. The design would likely be minimalist. Generally it relies on the beauty of the ceramic material and the subtlety of the form to make an impact.

Collector’s Value and Current Relevance

Today, collectors highly value these tea sets not just for their functional design but also as works of art. Museums, galleries, and private collections display them. People continue to celebrate them for their contribution to modern design and ceramic art.

Under Nazi persecution, Wildenhain escaped Germany in 1940 and then to Pond Farm, a communal retreat in Guerneville, California. Department stores like Gump’s in San Francisco offered her Pond Farm creations, which used the same concepts she had pioneered in Europe.

Pond Farm was an artists’ colony and centre of learning located in California, USA.
The colony sat near Guerneville in the Russian River area of Sonoma County. The facility was designed to harmonise with its bucolic surroundings. Pond Farm served as a hub for artists, craftsmen, and students to gather, work, and learn. Its summer workshops, which attracted participants from across the country, made it particularly well-known. Here, Wildenhain taught the art and philosophy of pottery making, emphasizing hands-on learning and the deep connection between form and function in craft.


Brohan, T., & Berg, T. (2001). Design classics: 1880-1930. Taschen.

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