Peter Behrens (1868 -1940) was a German architect and industrial designer. He designed this kettle for the German electrical equipment company AEG, which was founded in the 1880s. A range of permutations allowed the customer to select from different shapes, finishes and sizes to suit their needs. This was to be known and appreciated later as system design.
Behrens was part of a group of renowned German designers who established their reputations in the early years of the 20th century. Working together, Behrens and AEG helped bridge the gap between sophisticated mass production technology and a modern design strategy and vision. The influence of Behrens’ design philosophy can be gauged by the people who worked in Behrens’ studio in Neubabelsberg. They included Walter Gropius, Adolf Meyer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Jean Cramer, Peter Grossman and Le Corbusier.
This page from a 1912 AEG price list for electric kettles shows the size and finish options available for the octagonalshaped kettle. AEG also manufactured kettles in squat teardrop and cylindrical forms with the same size and finish options, demonstrating the application of Behrens’ system design.