Italian design company Alessi is known for creating practical everyday objects with a playful twist. The brand has worked with top designers including Marcel Wanders, Michael Graves and Philippe Starck. As the range comes to ACHICA, we take a closer look behind the design…
It all began when…
A talented lathe turner called Giovanni Alessi and the last in a long line of craftsmen from Valle Strona valley, founded a company in 1921 in a small village in the foothills of the Alps. During the 1920s and 30s, he made brass and nickel silver tableware and household objects, from his workshop, displaying exquisite craftsmanship. Many of the objects he produced, like the nickel silver tea and coffee service from 1921, have become part of the collective memory for generations of Italians.
Giovanni’s eldest son Carlo trained as an industrial designer and came of age in the 1930s when design in the modern sense of the word first appeared. He designed most of the company’s products between the mid-30s and 1945 when his last design, ‘Bombé’ tea and coffee services, was launched. It went on to become one of the defining pieces of the era of Italian design.
When Carlo became Chief Executive of the company, he and his brother Ettore began to use external designers like Carlo Mazzeri, Luigi Massoni and Anselmo Vitale, who designed what are still some of Alessi’s most popular lines, like the cocktail shaker No. 870, designed in 1957.
Over the years, Alessi has produced objects created by over two hundred designers including Philippe Starck, Jasper Morrison, Mark Newson and Ron Arad.
In 1970, Carlo introduced his eldest son, Alberto, to the company. Soon after, his other sons, Michele and Alessio and his nephew, Stefano, followed. This injection of creativity meant that Alessi was able to maintain its excellence in design, which has made it one of the most internationally renowned ‘Italian Design Factories’.
Alberto Alessi is now President of Alessi Spa and head of Marketing Strategy, Communication and Design Management.
The mood of the moment…
Today Alessi employs more than 500 people, produces 7,500 items a day and exports to 60 countries. Moving into the 21st-Century, Alessi has started to collaborate with other companies to expand out of their original remit of small items for the home and kitchen. Projects have varied from watches to bathrooms, from tiles and telephones to a concept car.
More than a label, it’s a way of life…
Alberto Alessi curated the fourth edition at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan 2011. Entitled ‘The Dream Factories: people, ideas and paradoxes of Italian design factories’ the idea was devoted to the individuals, companies and projects which have played an important role in the history of Italian design.
For beautiful furniture, accessories and daily design ideas for your home and lifestyle,
shop at ACHICA.
Katie Treggiden, Guest Editor
View all posts by Katie Treggiden, Guest Editor