Why We're Here

twergipeppermillA young advertising student dropped by the store the other day. Having selected Swipe as the subject for a mock ad campaign he wanted to ask a few questions about the shop, its philosophy and its target market. We obliged, and once again discovered that articulating the shop’s logic is always a useful exercise. The consistent theme throughout the interview was our sense of obligation to the creative community. A somewhat inappropriate counterpoint was a rather childish sense of responsibility to the objects themselves and, to a lesser degree, to their designers. Inappropriate, in that the reaction is an irrational, primarily emotional one. Good designs that are obscure, unfashionable or, for economic reasons, difficult to source seem, well, hard-done-by. Lonely and sad they wait for the day when someone notices them. It is hard to believe that in 1994, the year we started carrying Stelton, the line was otherwise virtually unavailable in Toronto. Or that in 2000 we were one of only two Marimekko dealers in the city. When, in 1995, we first started stocking [popup url="http://swipe.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/toikkabarnowl.jpg"]Toikka birds[/popup] from Iittala, we were told by a college design professor that they didn’t belong in the shop because “they aren’t design, they’re kitsch”. At this point, all of these lines are available at shops throughout the city and, consequently, we have scaled back our selection to a few under-represented items (for example the lovely ashtray that is the heart of Jacobsen’s Cylinda Line).

Twergi Pepper Mill & Salt Grinder
? 1989: Ettore Sottsass

In 1988 Alessi acquired a centuries old Italian firm, Piazza Battista, that specialized in making small turned-wood kitchenwares. One year later, Alessi launched its inaugural wooden product line under the Twergi brand name (logo by Milton Glaser). Most of the items were designed by the late Ettore Sottsass and feature his trademark extravagant use of colour and pattern. With a distinctly unfashionable post-modern flavour, much of the line has since been retired. This pepper mill and the matching salt grinder are among our favourite products. And, yes, lonely and sad they wait for the day when someone notices them.

Pepper Mill: $159.95
Salt Grinder: $121.95

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To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at: info@swipe.com.