Heller Bowl – An Icon of Utilitarian Chic
Massimo Vignelli and Heller produced this iconic melamine dinnerware set in 1964 and it quickly became a bestseller. Still popular today, these stackable plates, bowls and mugs can often be found for resale on secondhand sites in various colors.
Detail such as an easy stacking edge on plates and an ergonomic handle on mugs that accommodates thumbs make this tableware truly impressive.
Early Life and Education
Hellerware’s stackable melamine dinnerware designed by Massimo Vignelli in 1964–hailed by Curbed writer Alissa Walker as “an icon of sixties utilitarian chic”–has been produced continuously over fifty years. Sold in bright primary colors and sold under its trademark brand name of Hellerware, its functional minimalism continues to influence modern design even today.
Heller currently sits on the board of USF trustees as well as being a member emeritus of both Pinellas Cultural Foundation and Mahaffey Theater as well as president emeritus for Great Explorations children’s museum in Tampa. Additionally, Heller served in Florida House of Representatives from 2006-10 according to his biography on USF’s website.
Made exclusively for Supreme, and featuring their iconic red logo in red on each Heller melamine bowl, these stackable Heller bowls–available individually or as sets starting at $46–pay tribute to the timeless design. Each features a 2.5″ height.
Heller was an NFL lineman for five seasons. Starting 75 games for Philadelphia Eagles at both right and left tackle, as well as contributing on special teams, Heller had an exceptional NFL career.
Heller excelled despite playing in Idaho’s most modest high school sports classification, yet still earned several college football scholarships. After attending Boise State, however, Oregon State was chosen instead due to its proximity to his logging family’s home near Lake Pend Oreille.
Massimo Vignelli (who designed New York subway signage and American Airlines logo) designed the Heller Bowls out of melamine in 1964 and initially produced them commercially; these stackable and durable bowls first hit shelves during Week 8. On April 16, they made a comeback in collaboration with streetwear brand Supreme in Week 8, sold as sets of six for $65 or individually for $19. They feature polished finishes with red Supreme logos on each piece for maximum impact.
Achievement and Honors
Heller bowls have long been considered symbols of modern design due to their sleek and timeless aesthetic. Created by Massimo Vignelli in 1964 and manufactured initially in Italy before coming over to America in 1971 – they became staples in American homes for years, becoming cultural icons along the way.
At the 2013 Washtenaw County Agriculture Banquet, Nick Heller of Chelsea and Gale Koebbe of Manchester were honored with the Washtenaw County Agriculture Banquet’s Distinguished Service to Agriculture Lifetime Achievement Awards. Other honorees included Pat McQueeney, Fern Orenstein and Impact Award recipient Annet McCroskey.
Supreme is unveiling their limited edition set of Heller Bowls during Supreme Week 8 with their signature red and white hue – creating the ultimate combination of contemporary design and streetwear culture.
Those of us living in America during the 1970s and ’80s probably recall eating off Hellerware plates and bowls from Heller. With stackable melamine plates, bowls, and mugs that symbolised utilitarian chic and plastic that we normally didn’t favor at that time – Hellerware became one of those rare products we actually appreciated back then.
Vignelli, best known for designing New York City subway signs and American Airlines’ logo, first created the compact stackable dinnerware design in 1964. When an Italian manufacturer abandoned its molds, Heller brought the product over to America.
Today, these iconic plates remain produced and beloved components of modern kitchens. Supreme is offering an exclusive set of six stackable red and white Heller bowls as part of its Week 8 droplist for sale this Thursday as an offer.
Massimo Vignelli’s Hellerware melamine plates, bowls and mugs epitomize sixties utilitarian chic. Manufactured in the US by Heller during their heyday, their stackable pieces have since earned them iconic status among modern design classics.
Collectors prize these small sets, which can bring in up to $1,000 when in excellent condition. Secondhand versions also remain popular due to their midcentury modern aesthetic and reasonable price point.
Supreme Week 8 marks an exciting collaboration with Heller Bowls that promises to excite both collectors and fans. Stay tuned for further details!