In the late 1970s, Ettore Sottsass came across the colorful sculptural works of the American ceramicist Peter Shire and invited Shire to show work at the Memphis exhibitions in Milan. Peter Shire's teapots composed of brightly colored geometric forms may not be really practical for use but they are notably imaginative in design and coincide perfectly with the aims of the Memphis group. Peter Shire's creative and emphatically expressive reinterpretations of traditional forms are art works rather than designer objects.
Born in Los Angeles in 1947, Peter Shire trained as a ceramicist at the Chouinard Institute in Los Angeles. In 1972 Peter Shire established a studio in Los Angeles. In 1975 Shire had his first one-man show of his ceramic objects, teapots and other vessels, as well as painted tiles at a Hollywood gallery.
Collaboration with the Memphis group enabled Peter Shire to work with materials other than ceramics. In Milan, Peter Shire also designed objects to be made of glass or metal and also embarked on furniture design. In 1981 Peter Shire designed "Brazil", a table composed of wooden triangles, circle segments, and half cylinders. In 1982 Peter Shire designed "Bel Air", an asymmetrical, colorful armchair.