The story of Kiwi
“The giver of a gift identifies with it: if it's humorous, so are you, if it's elegant and sophisticated, then so is the person who chose it. You could say that as you can’t give the fruit of your creative talent as a gift, you could claim to have successfully chosen an intelligent, original and sophisticated object from all the run of the mill ones on offer. Designing for Alessi usually means going down that route. With “Kiwi”, we had the chance to intervene on a type of product which is usually confined to a modest level of design, which made our job easier. But the road was neither short nor straight.
We immediately went for a container that looked like a bottle, made with a technique that would produce a compact, closed form. The first design and cardboard model was a long cone with a handle formed out of the shape, like a shampoo bottle - but how could you fit a long cone under the tap in the sink? Then the cone began to curve forward: horns are great! they bring good luck! But the problem remained. Then we saw that the cone had to be placed horizontally - the only way it could have been filled up under the tap. The changing shape was the opposite from man’s evolution: from erectus to coricatus. At the centre, we were going to place the handle and a bulge to hold 2 litres of water, with a long spout at the end so the plant pots could be reached easily and a small filter on the other end for filling. Now, we thought, it was just a question of design, of producing an attractive shape with fluid lines helped by a clay model, then by these marvellous 3D design programs. Finally, a “real”model thrilled us by allowing us to see our thoughts come to life, to touch what we had only imagined: a sense of omnipotence which a designer feels on seeing his first model. Alas, this thrill was followed by a crushing disappointment as we saw the water coming out from where it should have gone in. In a last burst to resolve the problem, we moved the entrance hole underneath the handle, using the hollow already formed in the main body as the funnel.
The development of this product, with the help of a series of models, is a story of true professionalism. This story might come as a surprise to anyone who thinks that bringing a good idea to life means thinking of it overnight, designing it in the morning and seeing the finished product in the evening.”
Donato D’Urbino and Paolo Lomazzi