Ben Seibel was an American industrial designer who brought sculptural tableware into homes nationwide. His designs played with form and function to create objects that were useful, unique and beautiful.
Born in 1918 in Newark, New Jersey, Seibel spent most of his childhood in nearby Manhattan where his mother sold women’s clothing of her own design. Eventually, Seibel studied sculpture and painting before beginning to study architecture at Columbia.
His studies were put on hold due to his service in WWII, but Seibel finished his schooling at the Pratt Institute (where he focused on industrial design) after the war.
However, neither degree was ever completed—instead, Seibel set up his own studio where he began to create his own designs. Here he created some of his best-known work, like his dinnerware, glassware and tabletop accessories. Siebel’s work reached peak popularity in the 1950s, most notably his Informal and Impromptu tableware lines for Iroquois China. Seibel also created designs for Roseville Pottery Company and Mikasa. The designer continued creating at his studio, maintaining only a small staff until his death in 1985 at the age of 67.
Seibel’s designs emphasized organic, understated shapes and played with pops of color and texture to create a visually interesting piece. Some of his work was often seen as a competitor to Russel Wright’s work, as both their designs used flowing and ethereal shapes to create tableware like nothing else. Seibel’s work went past tableware too—he also created other pieces like bookends, vases and even some furniture.
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