Logo Alessi

Alessi Presents METAL WORKSHOP: Cranbrook for Alessi

22 May 2012

Newly refurbished Alessi Soho store to reopen with exhibition by renowned Academy of Art

New York, NY – On the occasion of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair®, Alessi and the Cranbrook Academy of Art are proud to present METAL WORKSHOP: Cranbrook for Alessi, an exhibition in material studies, product proposals and pre-production samples created by a mix of Cranbrook-based metal artists and designers working together on an open-ended material investigation. The exhibition will coincide with the reopening of the Alessi Soho flagship store on Greene St., which has been closed for two months for renovation. The shop opened in 2006 and is a design by Hani Rashid (Asymptote Architecture). The architect, who as additional curiosity graduated at Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1985, is also the author of the shop refurbishing.

The exhibition is the result of a 2009 workshop initiated by Alessi, the Italian ‘design factory’ at Cranbrook Academy of Art, the renowned graduate school of architecture, fine art and design based in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Four designs from the workshop are in production and will be launched in the latter half of 2012. The workshop was co-directed by Cranbrook 3D Designer-in-Residence, Scott Klinker, and Metalsmithing Artist-in-Residence, Iris Eichenberg. Participants from the Metalsmithing Department included: Adam Shirley, Seth Papac, Katie MacDonald, David Schafer, Richard Nelipovich and Suzanne Beautyman. Participants from the 3D Design Department included: John Truex, Patrick Gavin and Jonathan Muecke.

"When Alberto Alessi visited Cranbrook in 2009, he seemed especially impressed with the material experiments in the studios,” said Scott Klinker, co-director of the workshop. “His vision for a collaborative workshop was very specific: search for new forms in metal through a hands-on, craft process in the metal shop. The workshop addressed two main questions. First, what forms will metal take? Then later, what Alessi products might come from those forms? The final products seem to capture this fascination with the physical manipulation of metal."

“Alberto's embrace of Cranbrook's interdisciplinary practice model made this project – a collaboration of metals and 3-D design – particularly exciting. Alessi now links the designers of today with the iconic Cranbrook metals heritage of designers such as Eames, Knoll, and Bertoia, to name only a few,” said Reed Kroloff, the Director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

“The idea to organize this workshop came to me during a visit to Cranbrook in 2009. This visit gave me the opportunity to experience the existence of a clear attitude typical of the Arts and Crafts movement, and also typical of silver and metalsmiths, that has always intrigued me so much because it is so rare in European design,” said Alberto Alessi, President of Alessi Spa and head of Marketing Strategy, Communication and Design Management. “The purpose of our workshop was to understand what this kind of cultural background and attitude, based on the hammer and on the metalworker’s manual ability, could provide to today’s design aesthetic. I am glad to have started this collaboration that enriches Alessi’s practice as a research laboratory in the applied arts, as an artistic mediator between design on one side and the market on the other.”

METAL WORKSHOP: Cranbrook for Alessi will kick off on Monday, May 21st with an opening event from 6:00 – 8:00 pm in Alessi’s 130 Greene St. location. Mr. Scott Klinker will be in attendance. The event is by invitation only; to RSVP please email alessi@bdeonline.biz or call 212/353-1383 no later than May 15th.
Above, left to right: the Cranbrook Academy of Art metalsmithing workshop, prototype products from METAL WORKSHOP: Cranbrook for Alessi, a student design from the project

About Cranbrook Academy of Art

Cranbrook Academy of Art is the country’s top ranked, graduate-only program in architecture, design, and fine art. Each year, just 75 students are invited to study and live on Cranbrook’s landmark Saarinen-designed campus, which in addition to the Art Museum features private studios and state-of-the art workshops, all a short drive from the art, design, and music scene of Detroit. The focus at Cranbrook is on studio practice in one of ten disciplines including Architecture, 2D and 3D Design, Ceramics, Fiber,
Metalsmithing, Painting, Photography, Print Media, and Sculpture. The program is anchored by celebrated Artists- and Designers-in-Residence, one for each discipline, all of whom live and practice on campus alongside the Academy’s students. Dozens of internationally acclaimed artists, critics, curators, and gallerists visit each semester to supplement the individualized instruction, critiques, and mentoring by the Artists-in-Residence and Critical Studies Fellow. For more information, please call 248-645-3300
or visit www.cranbrookart.edu.

About Alessi

With a vast product line that includes everything from an iconic, whistling teakettle to a designer flyswatter, the Alessi company, founded in 1921 by Giovanni Alessi, has long been at the forefront of innovative and inspired product design.  The company has created a dynasty out of not only offering products geared towards the mainstream – serving trays and everyday cutlery among them – but by also creating some of the most celebrated cult objects of our time. 
For more information, please visit www.alessi.com.


Media Contact: 

For Alessi:

Rachel Lexier, BDE     

For Cranbrook Academy of Art:

Felicia Molnar

Images gallery