Shopping Cart
Wishlist
account
HISTORY & DESIGNERS
Italian Design Tradition Since 1921.
Explore the full History timeline, or discover the most iconic collaborations we made with Famous designers through the years.
THE HISTORY
DESIGNER COLLABORATIONS
Usa la rotella del mouse per navigare ->
1921
LA MANIFATTURA FAO
FAO’s first products are inspired by the principles laid down by the most prestigious early-20th century producers of household articles, particularly companies from Austria and England. Giovanni has a real obsession with quality and finely crafted work. His copper, brass and nickel silver products, subsequently nickel-, chrome- or silver-plated, soon become well known for their perfect finishes and consummate craftsmanship. In 1932 Carlo Alessi, Giovanni’s eldest son, joins the company as a very young man. He goes on to design the majority of the objects produced between the mid-1930s and 1945.
1945
FROM CRAFTSMANSHIP TO MASS PRODUCTION
During the 1950s the company gradually replaces soft metals with stainless steel, marking the transition from artisanal craftsmanship to mass production. In this period the company specialises in creating professional equipment for hotels, restaurants and bars. Carlo Alessi, eldest son of the founder, becomes General Manager. His brother Ettore, who join the company in 1945, become Head of the Technical Office, strengthening the design-based identity of the business. His stewardship sees the creation of a number of “industrial designs”, such as the steel wire baskets and fruit bowls. Under Ettore ALFRA also begins partnerships with external designers such as Luigi Massoni, Carlo Mazzeri and Anselmo Vitale.
1970
TOWARDS THE DESIGN FACTORY
Alberto is driven by a simple yet revolutionary intuition that the bond between people and objects is not simply shaped by functionality. Men and women have other equally important and deep-rooted needs that form the basis for their relationship with the things they use, such as poetry, emotions, the communication of their identity, their values... Designers are professionals who create functional objects that are capable of capturing the public’s imagination.
Alberto Alessi has described his career as like a series of meetings that have enabled him to flesh out and go beneath the surface of his original intuition. Franco Sargiani, Ettore Sottsass, Richard Sapper, Achille Castiglioni, Alessandro Mendini, Aldo Rossi, Michael Graves and Philippe Starck were the “meetings” which, in the 1970s and 1980s, helped transform the company into the Factory of Design envisaged by Alberto.
1980
POST-MODERN PERIOD
The operation stems from a desire to explore the world of international design in order to identify new talents who can rewrite the design language of household goods. “Tea & Coffee Piazza” enjoys considerable public and critical acclaim, finally confirming Alessi’s status as one of the Factories of Italian Design. The project also leads to the discovery of two talented new designers: Aldo Rossi and Michael Graves.
1990
THE ALESSI STUDY CENTRE
The CSA has been created to carry out a dual mission: to develop theoretical contributions to issues related to the object and to coordinate the work that Alberto Alessi sought to begin with the young designers. Managed by Laura Polinoro, for a decade the CSA operate mainly runs design workshops (seminars), organised in association with universities and schools, and with groups of designers.
The decision to use materials other than steel is another important decision that shapes the decade. The company opens to plastic; to wood in 1989 with the Twergi brand; and to glass, porcelain and then ceramics in 1992 with the Tendentse brand and the “100% Make up” vase project.
2000
ECLECTICISM
The first decade of the 21st century begins with the presentation of the “Tea & Coffee Towers” project, a successor to Alessi’s “Tea & Coffee Piazza” in 1983. This initiative launches a new series of partnerships that spawn genuine mass products, such as those by David Chipperfield, Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas, Toyo Ito, SANAA, Wiel Arets and Yan Kaplicky. In this decade Alessi’s products reflect the “eclectic” character that had begun to emerge with greater insistence in the second half of the 1990s. The company’s ability to work with new designers - of different nationalities, ages, backgrounds and design approaches - simultaneously is reflected in a collection of objects that are not only different from each other in terms of material or type but also, more profoundly, for their “design language”.
History
View Collaborations
Usa la rotella del mouse per navigare ->
1921
UFFICIO TECNICO ALESSI
The origins of the Alessi Technical Office lie in a small craft workshop opened by Giovanni Alessi with his brother in 1921. A “Mechanics workshop for processing brass and nickel silver place, with a foundry” where household items and tableware are created that soon become known and appreciated for their extraordinary workmanship and finishing.

Until 1970 the Technical Office designs and develops most of the Alessi products. The beginning of the company’s partnerships with external designers marks the Technical Office’s gradual shift away from product design and it now specialises exclusively in the development of projects.

“TO LEARN THE BASICS OF MECHANICS, YOU JUST HAD TO START FROM THERE``
ETTORE ALESSI
1932
CARLO ALESSI
Design as we now understand the word, first appears in our history with Carlo Alessi, son of Giovanni, founder of the company. After training as an industrial designer, Carlo joins the business very young and goes directly into design. He is responsible for most of the objects produced between the mid-1930s and 1945, the year of his final project, the

``Bombé`` tea and coffee service, an archetype of early Italian design. He completely
ceases design work when he becomes general manager of the company in the 1950s.

“FOR US YOUNG PEOPLE FACTORIES WERE MORE INTERESTING THAN CINEMA BECAUSE WE COULD SEE THEM EXPRESS OUR IDEAS...``
CARLO ALESSI
1945
C. MAZZERI, L. MASSONI, A. VITALE
Alessi begins working with external designers in 1955, exploring new project possibilities far beyond a strictly company context. First hired for the factory’s expansion project, architects Carlo Mazzeri and Luigi Massoni - later joined by Anselmo Vitale - are invited to design a series of objects, mainly for hotels. These items mark

a cultural turning point, introducing the concepts of ``creator``, ``project`` and ``design`` to the world of household goods.
In 1957, the 870 shaker, the 871 ice bucket and the 505 ice tongs are selected for the XI Milan Triennial. For the first time, Alessi objects appear in an exhibition on “designer” industrial production.

“ALESSI GAVE US THE FREEDOM TO CREATE WHAT WE WANTED, WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT THE CONSTRAINTS OF INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION. THE FACTORY WOULD TAKE CARE OF THE TECHNOLOGY LATER``
CARLO MAZZERI
1970
FRANCO SARGIANI, EIJA ELANDER
On joining the company in 1970, Alberto Alessi first works with designers Franco Sargiani and Eija Helander. This partnership extends to graphics, packaging and stand design, as well as the headquarters offices in Crusinallo di Omegna.

They design the Alessi logo, which has been used since 1971 and the ``Programma 8``, a table service objects system based on modular square or rectangular shapes elements, which are very difficult to produce in steel.

“DESIGN HAS ALWAYS BEEN MY LIFE AND I REMEMBER STARTING TO THINK ABOUT IT VERY EARLY. WHEN I WAS A MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT, I WAS DRAWING INSTEAD OF LISTENING TO LESSONS ... ``
FRANCO SARGIANI
1970
EXHIBITION DESIGN S. COPPOLA, P. TOVAGLIA, F. GRIGNANI, G. CONFALONIERI E B. MUNARI
In the early 1970s a group of Italian graphic designers explores the field of graphic design and that of industrial products. Silvio Coppola, Giulio Confalonieri, Franco Grignani, Bruno Munari and Pino Tovaglia, collectively known as Exhibition Design, come up with a collection of Alessi baskets and trays that was one of the most important examples

of the industrial application of that research. This collection of radically new lines is a marked departure from the company’s previous style of baskets and trays. The Tiffany tray by Silvio Coppola stands out as emblematic of the whole series.

“TIMES HAVE CHANGED: THE BOUNDARIES OF GRAPHICS HAVE OPENED TO EXPLORATIONS THAT GO BEYOND VISUAL COMMUNICATION, TO SEEK NEW TYPES OF PLASTIC FORM, IN A NEW DESIGN`` (PINO TOVAGLIA)
PINO TOVAGLIA
1972
ETTORE SOTTSASS
Ettore Sottsass and Alberto Alessi first met in 1972. By the time he arrived at Alessi, Sottsass was already famous for his work at Olivetti. He also had a reputation as a radical design guru: a kind of philosopher, charismatic and with something interesting to say on any topic. Alberto

and he discussed rarefied design issues and the role of industry in society.
The 5070 condiment sets were one of his first projects for us. This mini table architecture is one of our best-known products.

“I DO SO MANY DIFFERENT JOBS. I DO PHOTOGRAPHS, SMALL DRAWINGS, HUGE ARCHITECTURES AND I WRITE. OTHERWISE I AM SURE MY SOUL WOULD BE BORED”
ETTORE SOTTSASS
1977-78
ALESSANDRO MENDINI
Our partnership with Alessandro Mendini is very special. As the author of “Paesaggio casalingo”, the first book on the history of Alessi’s production (1979) - and other books, he is the company’s official historian. As a designer he has designed and continues to design objects, often in the most challenging and exciting areas of Alessi catalogues. In his work as an architect he has designed two extensions to the Crusinallo factory, the Alessi Museum and numerous art shows. As a design manager he has conceived and coordinated some of Alessi’s most important projects. As a consultant, he has suggested many designers to work with.
The “Anna G.” corkscrew is his most iconic project for Alessi, whose status as a cult figure was wittily alluded to in an advertisement by Lowe Lintas Pirella Göttsche & Partners that depicts it as a new Marilyn.
“MY WORK PROBABLY RESEMBLES MY LIFE, A LABYRINTHINE WORK, AN ONGOING RESEARCH AND CONTINUOUS COMING AND GOING, RETRACING MY STEPS, WORKING FOR PEOPLE AND ACHIEVING RESULTS WITH PIECES THAT LOOK A BIT LIKE THE HARLEQUIN’S COSTUME”
ALESSANDRO MENDINI
1977
RICHARD SAPPER
Richard Sapper and Alessi met on the advice of Ettore Sottsass: “He did the Tizio lamp, and no project of his has ever failed.” His work always starts with a problem that his project can solve. Following the best tradition of the famous Ulm school (``the designer must by definition be familiar with the technology with which he works``), he is considered an expert on every construction topic. The countless difficult

construction details in his designs led to long and bitter discussions with our engineers. However, the results have always been extraordinary, like the 9090 espresso coffee maker, which was the first Alessi project for the kitchen, or the 9091 kettle with melodic whistle, the first of our designer kettles.

“FOR ME, FORM IS THE RESULT OF AN INNER LIFE THAT NEEDS AN OBJECT”
RICHARD SAPPER
1978
RICCARDO DALISI
Riccardo Dalisi is a Neapolitan, with a deep knowledge and understanding of his city’s culture, who enthusiastically took on to redefine the Neapolitan coffee maker. The research into “Caffettiera napoletana” (1979-1987) was the longest in Alessi history, over the years producing a book and more than two hundred tin prototypes, all in working order.

Dalisi’s project further opens the company’s industrial world to the conceptual experience of craftsmanship, teaching us to dissolve certainties in a fragile and poetic vein, often the most appropriate for working around time honoured domestic rituals.

“THIS IS HOW I SEE ECCENTRICITY. IT ISN’T AN ABSTRUSE NOTION, BUT AN INVERSION, ANOTHER TYPE OF LOGIC”
RICCARDO DALISI
1982
ACHILLE CASTIGLIONI
The creator of Dry, the first cutlery produced by Alessi, Achille Castiglioni was a great teacher, curious about everything, a man endowed with a sense of irony and exceptional modesty. He was capable of designing masterpieces and understood the public well.

He died in December 2002, but his extraordinary example of intelligence, humility and lightness continues to be a great inspiration.

“I WOULD LIKE THE THINGS I DESIGN NOT TO BE RECOGNISED BY MY NAME, BUT JUST FOR A MUTUAL EMPATHY THAT ARISES BETWEEN THE USER OF THE OBJECT AND ITS DESIGNER”
ACHILLE CASTIGLIONI
1983
MICHAEL GRAVES
Trained as an architect, since the 1980s Michael Graves has devoted much of his time to design. In 1985 he designes for Alessi an object that became a cultural icon of the time: the 9093 kettle with its distinctive detail, a whistle shaped

like a small red bird. This kettle has given rise to a rich family of products, all using the formal language of the ``parent``: a happy blend of influences from the European tradition, Art Deco, American Pop Art and memories of pre-Columbian cultures.

“GENERALLY PEOPLE THINK THAT GOOD DESIGN IS HOW IT LOOKS. IT IS HOW IT LOOKS, HOW IT FEELS, THE CHARACTER IT HAS, THE WHOLE THING IN ONE PACKAGE. TO MAKE SOMETHING GOOD IT TAKES ALL OF THOSE INGREDIENTS WORKED OUT”
MICHAEL GRAVES
1983
ALDO ROSSI
An architect distrustful of industry in general, Aldo Rossi comes into contact with Alessi at the end of the 1970s, when he was asked to participate in the “Tea & Coffee Piazza” research project. He likes the company and launches into extensive studies on objects for coffee, which over time became a sort of obsession as he made notes, sketches, photographs, drawings, and various designs. Rossi

sees the espresso coffee maker as the symbol par excellence of the dialectical relationship between architecture (or urban planning) and the ‘paesaggio domestico’ (domestic landscape) in which this mini-monument appears. This research lead to “La Conica”, “La Cupola”, and “Ottagono” espresso coffee makers, along with other items linked to the daily ritual of home coffee making.

1983
ROBERT VENTURI
The partnership between Alessi and Robert Venturi dates back to 1979 with the “Tea & Coffee Piazza” research project. Alessi’s meeting with Venturi is important at the level of theoretical reflection, of rarefied themes related to a conception of contemporary architecture, which for him is ``complex, contradictory, and based on the richness and ambiguity of modern experience.” In terms

of products, the partnership with this designer leads to “The Campidoglio” tray that, inspired by the famous Rome city square, is the steel version of the one designed for the “Tea & Coffee Piazza” project.

“I AM FOR RICHNESS OF MEANING RATHER THAN CLARITY OF MEANING. I AM FOR DISORDER PACKED WITH VITALITY RATHER THAN AN OBVIOUS UNITY`` ``MORE IS NOT LESS”
ROBERT VENTURI
1985
MASSIMO MOROZZI
Massimo Morozzi has been involved in research, branding, and product design and has worked as an art director for many years. One of the founders of the radical group Archizoom (1966), he has never abandoned an alternative model of design, either in his work as a designer or in his decisions in his role as an art director. Alessandro Mendini has described him as a ``realist`` designer and architect in the sense that he addresses every single issue as a one off and always creates

a completely new object independent of any others he has designed. He combines functional innovation with a strong emotional charge, with his objects almost becoming ``characters” in themselves. This functional innovation and expression is also clear in the objects created for Alessi, such as “Pasta Set”, with its mysterious and fascinating shape. No one recognised it as a cooking pot when it was first presented.

“I STILL HAVE A RADICAL APTITUDE, THAT IS, I DESIGN A TABLE ALSO THINKING ABOUT THE CAT UNDERNEATH. AN OBJECT MUST BE FUNCTIONAL AND LIVEABLE IN ITS ENTIRETY”
MASSIMO MOROZZI
1986
PHILIPPE STARCK
Designer of the popular “Juicy Salif” citrus-squeezer Philippe Starck’s brand of design has a powerfully innovative impact on the world of production and commerce, with results that cannot be justified solely in technological or market terms. His projects for Alessi are true works of design: deeply moving,

communicating feelings, evoking memories, surprising, transgressive, and poetic in nature.

“ALESSI IS A MERCHANT OF HAPPINESS”
PHILIPPE STARCK
1986
ENZO MARI
Enzo Mari is extremely critical of consumer society. Expounder of an uncompromising vision of design applied to industrial production, he refuses to introduce any formal ornamentation into a project just to please the public. His work constantly seeks an archetypal simplicity that is the only justification for the creation of a new object in our already

overcrowded consumer society. The company’s relationship with this designer dates back to the mid-1970s, when Alberto Alessi wants to produce the “Arran” tray that Mari had designed for Danese. It only succeeds twenty years later in 1997.

“ITALIAN DESIGN INDUSTRIES ARE ACTUALLY METAPHORS OF INDUSTRIES.”
ENZO MARI

1989
MARIO BOTTA
François Chaslin wrote of Mario Botta: “No preciousness, no pedantic refinement, and no obvious sophistication: Botta's rhetoric is modest, balanced, and never contorted. He could not be less literary. His constructions say little, but with a perfect evocative power.” Alessi meets Botta in 1989, when

the Swiss architect designes Eye, one of our first watches. Then in the year 2000 he designes the Mia and Tua pair of pitchers, another example of the balanced, direct and meaningful language that marks all his work.

1989
KING KONG
At the end of the 1980s Alessandro Mendini, a valued promoter of new talent, points Alberto Alessi in the direction of two young Florentine architects: Stefano Giovannoni and Guido Venturini who are very excited when they join the company, producing a series of sketches. It is immediately apparent that their poetic playful and simple approach,

often inspired by the formal language of cartoons, might yield interesting results. Their designs include a very simple tray with little men around the edge, like children’s scissor cutouts. No one could have imagined back then that the “Girotondo” tray would become one of Alessi’s most popular products.

“THE LITTLE MAN IS JUST THAT, A STYLISED, FIGURATIVE ICON THAT BECOMES A TOOL OF COMMUNICATION”
KING KONG

1991
ANDREA BRANZI
A complex designer, not easily accessible to the general public, Andrea Branzi has found in Alessi a trusted partner for some of his most extreme projects, mostly for small

series. These include the “CO1369” toothpick holder and the “Ercolino” bottle opener, wooden products designed with the issues of ecology and natural forms prominently in mind.

NEW MATERIALS ARE INTRODUCED ALONGSIDE STEEL WITH PRESENTATIONS OF THE FIRST COLLECTIONS OF ITEMS IN PLASTIC, GLASS, PORCELAIN AND WOOD.
ANDREA BRANZI

1992
FRANK GEHRY
One of the most internationally famous architects, Frank Gehry is known for the sculptural and organic aspect of his works. His is a poetry of creative shapes and experimentation with light and materials. The fish is one of the designer’s favourite themes, a recurrent figure in his architecture and sculptures. The sense of movement in some of his architectural

works is like a fish twirling in the water, with facings chosen to resemble shiny scales. Indeed, the melodic cap and the handle of the Pito kettle that Gehry designes for Alessi in 1992 are inspired by the form of two jumping fish.

1993
STEFANO GIOVANNONI
Alessi’s partnership with Stefano Giovannoni begins in the late 1980s, producing many families of commercially successful products. This “champion of the super & popular``, of work that combines design quality with accessibility to a wide public, designs some of Alessi’s best sellers like the “Merdolino” toilet brush, the “Mary Biscuit” biscuit box and the “Mami” pots and pans. The stainless steel “Mami” series, introduced in 1999, opens a new phase in Giovannoni’s work,

with the use of a non-plastic material. The turn of the millennium sees the close of the ``colourful” period of his first plastic objects because the context had changed, with increasing complexity and economic difficulties. Giovannoni’s desire to go back to steel, a classic, stable and durable material, reflects and responds to this change.

“THE DESIGNER IS SOMEONE WITH LONG ANTENNAE THAT NEED TO SENSE EARLY ANY CHANGE IN THE TIMES”
STEFANO GIOVANNONI

1993
GUIDO VENTURINI
Alberto Alessi describes Guido Venturini in the 1990s as “a convinced explorer of the shadow zone”. This was at the beginning of his association with the company. Indeed, the search for the human in all its different and contradictory forms is the main theme of this designer’s work. This exploration extends beyond the boundaries of design. Moving into figurative art in 2000, Guido Venturini

chooses drawing and painting as his main means of expression. This was reflected in his designs for Alessi, when his unusual and wacky pieces such as the “Gino Zucchino” sugar castor or “Inka” press filter coffee maker are joined by objects with soft and pictorial features, such as the “Acquerello” table set and the “All-Time” cutlery set.

“THERE ARE FIELDS OF EXPRESSION SUCH AS ART, MUSIC AND CINEMA THAT ALLOW YOU TO BRING OUT BAD, NASTY, AND VIOLENT THINGS, THAT HOWEVER HAVE BY THEIR NATURE BECOME LIBERATING. DESIGN DOES NOT USUALLY OFFER THESE OPPORTUNITIES...”
GUIDO VENTURINI

1994
LLUÍS CLOTET
A member of the School of Barcelona, the work of Catalonia’s Lluís Clotet resists any academic and traditional codification of architectural language. He is a designer true to his time and the search for beauty without dogma.

Mainly engaging in architecture, Clotet has also performed a few interesting design projects. His elegant mark is found in the beautiful crinkles of the “Foix” tray and other “crumpled” objects like “Port” basket and the “Enriqueta” salad bowl.

“IN CONTRAST TO THE COMPLEXITY AND HEAVINESS OF THE WORK INVOLVED IN ARCHITECTURE, I AM ATTRACTED TO THE SIMPLICITY AND LIGHT WEIGHT OF DESIGNS CREATED BY OUR HANDS, PLAY AND IRONY”
LLUÍS CLOTET

1997
RON ARAD
An architect by training, Ron Arad mainly works in design for various Italian design factories. He moves to the forefront of art and contemporary design with his constant search for new solutions, experimenting with shapes and materials. Some of his output make expressionistic use of metals such as steel and aluminium, processed using traditional methods

or advanced technologies. Metal allows him to experiment with organic features that are then easily transferred to other materials. He creates famous objects for Alessi such as the “Babyboop” vase and hors-d'oeuvre set, the “Chiringuito Shaker” and the “Chiringuito Cooler”.

“I'M NOT A METHODICAL PERSON - I'M RESTLESS AND LAZY, AND I JUMP FROM ONE THING TO THE OTHER”
RON ARAD

1998
MUSEO ALESSI
The Alessi Museum at the Crusinallo site in Omegna opened in the spring of 1998. It has been created to perform the dual function of operational archive and design collection.
1998
JASPER MORRISON
Jasper Morrison’s projects emerge from his awareness that, in the field of household goods, the evolution of types does not occur due to great discoveries, but via small incremental improvements, and is dominated by the imagery of time honoured rituals. His designs for Alessi, such

as the “Socrates” corkscrew, the “Glass Family” glass set or his “Pots&Pans” are characterised by small but significant innovative details, connected to ancient roots.

“THE SUPER NORMAL OBJECT IS THE RESULT OF A LONG TRADITION OF EVOLUTIONARY ADVANCEMENT IN THE SHAPE OF EVERYDAY THINGS, NOT ATTEMPTING TO BREAK WITH THE HISTORY OF FORM BUT RATHER TRYING TO SUMMARIZE IT, KNOWING ITS PLACE IN THE SOCIETY OF THINGS”
JASPER MORRISON

1999
MARC NEWSON
Marc Newson is a strikingly versatile and creative designer. He has worked all over the world, in very different disciplines, creating an incredible variety of designs, including furniture and household items, bicycles, cars, private and commercial aircraft, yachts, architecture, and sculptures... In this regard, Newson acknowledges how much post-war Italian design has influenced him: “For a kid obsessed with designing and building

it was an enormous source of inspiration. I was amazed by the infinite ability of designers and industry to produce every conceivable industrial product, from furniture to cars.” The “Stavros” bottle opener is one of the various objects he has designed for Alessi.

“I WAS MUCH MORE INTERESTED IN MAKING THINGS THAN IN DESIGNING THEM”
MARC NEWSON

2000
WIEL ARETS
A singular architect and independent thinker, Wiel Arets eschews trends and cannot be easily pigeonholed into any category. His work tends to the regularity of its parts, although it is not minimalist in a reductive sense. It is very complex intellectually, but is also very practical and looks carefully and unpretentiously at normal people. In his work as

a designer he pays attention to the relationship between object and user, designing areas of choice and interaction within this relationship. The “coffee.it” espresso coffee maker, the “pepper.it” pepper mill or “screw.it” corkscrew are clear examples of this approach.

“EVEN WHEN THE PROCESS IS OVER, IF YOU HAVE DOUBTS ABOUT YOUR PROJECT THAT'S GOOD, BECAUSE IT MEANS THAT YOU HAVE TO DEVELOP IT FURTHER. I THINK THAT DOUBT IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS FOR DESIGNERS AND CREATIVES”
WIEL ARETS

2000
DAVID CHIPPERFIELD
An internationally renowned British architect, David Chipperfield combines a heavy load of architectural work worldwide with equally intense teaching activities. A supporter of the concept of continuity, he sees architecture as a tool for innovation understood as constantly seeking to integrate contemporaneity with history and tradition.

This aspect is also reflected in his design projects. He designs objects with a ``prototypical`` character, expressing qualities that are timeless and unique.
The fertile exchange between the designer and Alessi has produced a number of interesting projects, such as the “Tonale” table set and the “Piana” folding chair.

“IN OUR APPROACH TO ARCHITECTURE IT IS ESSENTIAL TO SOLVE PROBLEMS, IDENTIFYING ISSUES IN EVERY DESIGN THAT STIMULATE THE CREATION OF A FORM”
DAVID CHIPPERFIELD

2000
MASSIMILIANO E DORIANA FUKSAS
Alessi’s partnership with Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas dates back to 2003, when they take part in the “Tea & Coffee Towers” research project. The work of Massimiliano Fuksas focuses in particular on the creation of public works and large urban complexes. He works as a designer in partnership with his wife, Doriana Mandrelli, who heads the studio’s design section. Their projects are characterised

by a constant search for new materials and production techniques. This sensitivity to materials is seen in the “Colombina collection”, a table set with an original combination and juxtaposition of white porcelain, bone china and melamine in different colours.

“BEAUTY DOES NOT EXIST. “BEAUTY IS A USURPED CATEGORY`` (MASSIMILIANO FUKSAS)
MASSIMILIANO E DORIANA FUKSAS

2000
FUTURE SYSTEMS
Czech architect Jan Kaplicky, who died in 2009, founded the London-based studio Future Systems in 1979. His work spanned present and future, functionality and imagination, technology and organic structures, constantly balancing experimentation and concrete projects. This approach is also reflected in the objects he designed for Alessi,

such as the “Bettina” cutlery/flatware set, developed over more than four years. A complex project, it is undoubtedly the most innovative performed by the company in this area.

``I HAVE THE FEELING THAT THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE CREATING SOMETHING WHICH OUR GENERATION NEVER EVEN IMAGINED.``(JAN KAPLICKY)
FUTURE SYSTEMS

2000
TOYO ITO
Our partnership with Toyo Ito dates back to 2003, when he took part in the “Tea & Coffee Towers” research project. A complex and sophisticated architect, he has written one of the most important chapters in contemporary international architecture. His language expresses lightness, poetry, and freedom from rigid geometries in a virtual reinterpretation of natural patterns. This same approach

is also seen in his projects for Alessi, such the “Kaeru” set of two mocha cups with saucers, inspired by water that stagnates around wooden poles or ``MU`` cutlery set ``sharp, but with a touch of elegance and sensitivity ... Linear, but with the biological characteristics of plants...”

“ARCHITECTS HAVE MADE ARCHITECTURE TOO COMPLEX. WE NEED TO SIMPLIFY IT AND USE A LANGUAGE THAT EVERYONE CAN UNDERSTAND”
TOYO ITO

2000
GARY CHANG
An architect interested in the theme of living and the quality of space, Gary Chang redesigns micro-living spaces. Aware of the context that surrounds and influences him, he says he is a theorist of ``Non Visual Architecture`` as an expression of a ``typically oriental non visual pragmatism.” He

first works with Alessi in 2003, on the “Tea & Coffee Towers” project. In 2011 he coordinates Alessi’s (UN)Forbidden City research, when a group of Chinese architects help design of one of the company’s standard products: the tray/container. “Trick and Treat” is his personal contribution to the project.

“I BELIEVE THE WORLD IS NOT THE SIMPLE OPPOSITES OF EAST AND WEST, BUT I FULLY AGREE THAT THERE IS A GRADUAL MERGE IN DIFFERENT DEGREES AND ASPECTS OF THIS DIALECTIC CONTEXT”
GARY CHANG

2000
SANAA
“Since the first meeting – with Kazuyo Sejima - in Crusinallo, when she chain-smoked her way through a presentation of her first poetic projects for the “Tea & Coffee Towers” service, I thought that those flickering pencil sketches on simple pieces of plain paper offered a new approach to Alessi design for the

twentieth century,” said Alberto Alessi. Sejima and her SANAA studio partner Ryue Nishizawa, designed this poetic and refined tea and coffee service. That first project, made of silver, gave rise to equally poetic and delicate product lines, such as the tea cups and pieces of the “Fruit basket” tea service.

“DESIGNING FOR ME IS LIKE CLIMBING A TREE. YOU TRY MANY 'BRANCHES', PROGRESSING STEP BY STEP, AND EVENTUALLY YOU GET TO A 'LEAF'. I SENSE NO MORE THAN THIS`` (KAZUYO SEJIMA)
SANAA
2002
PIERO LISSONI
An inquisitive designer, classical in style while aware of the contemporary, Piero Lissoni works in all the areas usually covered by an Italian architect. His activities include urban planning, architecture, industrial design, graphic design, and exhibit spaces ... He analyses the complexity,

different aspects and facets of every project. He brings his acute and refined minimalist style to the Alessi catalogue with a few simple but never banal designs, such as the “Disco Volante” tray and the “Birillo” bathroom series.

“IN MY WORK I HAVE ALWAYS TRIED TO KEEP THINGS FAIRLY SIMPLE AND TO ESCHEW ANY COMPLEXITY SO MY PROBLEM IS COMPLEXITY AND SIMPLICITY IS MY PUBLIC FACE”
PIERO LISSONI

2004
FRATELLI CAMPANA
Despite their obviously Italian origins, the Campana brothers are Brazilians in every respect and are among the most interesting phenomena in contemporary international design. They have brought a healthy breath of lightness and poetry to European design. Big supporters of handicrafts, which offer great opportunities for social advance in developing countries,

the Campana Brothers emphasise this ``radical`` vision with their preference for simple materials and industrial waste. They have followed this philosophy in a number of projects for Alessi, such as the “Blow up” series, an assembly of seemingly random pieces of 18/10 stainless steel rods.

“IN OUR WORK, THE MATERIAL DICTATES THE FORM AND FUNCTION. IT GIVES LIFE TO OUR DESIGNS”
FRATELLI CAMPANA

2007
MARTÍ GUIXÉ
Artist, creator of installations and performances, designer of shops, writer of illustrated books, Martí Guixé is also the first designer to work on the theme of food design in the 1990s. He is one of the exponents of contemporary critical thinking on design but there is nothing moralistic about his work, which is rather playful. His is a very personal, friendly and paradoxical approach. Guixé provocatively calls himself an ex-designer to emphasise his aversion to a formalistic and stylised approach to this discipline. Working with an existing type, he won’t reinvent new forms based on a traditional interpretation of its

function, but he instead explores new ways of seeing and conceiving that object. These methods involve the active participation and creative input of the user. A true product designer, he has made objects for Alessi that communicate and allow us to communicate such as the “24h Sentence maker” wall clock, the “Communicator arrow” fruit holder, the “Communicator plant” desk organiser and the “Seed safe”.

“OBJECTS HAVE BECOME TOOLS FOR PERCEIVING EVERYDAY REALITY. YOU CAN COMMUNICATE WITH OBJECTS AND COMMUNICATE WITH PEOPLE THROUGH OBJECTS”
MARTÍ GUIXÉ

2009
MARIO TRIMARCHI
Sicilian-born Mario Trimarchi has lived and worked in Milan since 1983. His work always ranges freely within the visual universe, encompassing drawing, photography, design and image as facets of the same investigative territory. Stories, children’s tales, literary images, and fragments of architecture inspire his work as a designer. These inspirations also

obvious in the objects designed for Alessi, such as the baskets in the ``La stanza dello Scirocco`` series, born out of a memory of his childhood in Sicily, or “Intanto” flower vases, based on a poetic notion of how a cut flower remains frozen in time.

“DESIGN IS AN INNOCENT WAY OF FEELING A LITTLE CLOSER TO THE MYSTERY OF BEAUTY”
MARIO TRIMARCHI

2009
MATALI CRASSET
Her hairstyle and her determination to write her name in lower case alone show that matali crasset is an undeniably radical designer. She conceives design as exploration, constantly questioning the power of the codes that govern our daily lives. Since the 1990s she has developed a vocabulary all of her own based on the rejection of aesthetic fashions and ``form for

form”. Her evolving research focuses on varied but related themes, such as new ways of living; the proper use and new types of available space; modularity, appropriation and flexibility; and a highly personalised use of colours. matali researches pastry tools for Alessi with Pierre Hermé.

“I WOULD SAY THAT MY JOB IS TO GUIDE IN THE CONTEMPORARY”
MATALI CRASSET

2009
GIULIO IACCHETTI
Autore eclettico, Giulio Iacchetti opera fra la grande distribuzione, il piccolo artigianato e alcune importanti aziende di design. Tra i suoi caratteri distintivi c’è la ricerca e la definizione di nuove tipologie oggettuali, come il “Moscardino”, posata multiuso disegnata insieme a Matteo Ragni nel 2001.
Nel suo lavoro emerge sovente una tensione critica, civica, “politica”, alla quale si affianca – soltanto

in apparente contraddizione – una ricerca più riflessiva, come quella sulla croce dalla quale è nata la mostra “Cruciale”, presentata a Milano nel 2011. Fra gli oggetti disegnati per Alessi, il set per aperitivi “Ape”, il vassoio “Vassily” e la collezione di accessori per il vino “Noè”.

“HO DECISO DI FARE IL DESIGNER PERCHÉ È IL MIO MODO DI ESPRIMERE UN GESTO POLITICO”
GIULIO IACCHETTI

2010
MARCEL WANDERS
An eclectic designer, Giulio Iacchetti works for large retailers, small crafts businesses and some of the leading design companies. His distinctive features include research into and definition of new object types, such as the “Moscardino” multipurpose cutlery designed with Matteo Ragni in 2001.
His work often displays a critical, civic, ``political`` tension, which is combined - only in apparent contradiction

- with more reflexive exploration, such as that on the cross, which led to the “Cruciale” exhibition in Milan in 2011. His designs for Alessi include the “Ape” aperitif set, the “Vassily” tray and the “Noè” collection of wine accessories.

“I DECIDED TO BE A DESIGNER BECAUSE IT'S MY WAY OF MAKING A POLITICAL GESTURE”
MARCEL WANDERS

2011
EERO AARNIO
Eero Aarnio is one of the most innovative contemporary Scandinavian designers. Always interested in the playful and paradoxical aspects of design, his ``playful Scandinavian`` approach is also visible in his projects for Alessi, such as the “Mouse” bottle opener, or the “Duck Timer”.
Aarnio dedicates some of his time to creating

small series of objects, such as the ``CrissCross`` multipurpose basket, a transposition for industrial manufacture of a design originally intended for small-scale artisanal production.

“A PRODUCT IDEA CAN COME ABOUT IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS”
EERO AARNIO

2011
NAOTO FUKASAWA
Naoto Fukasawa is one of the most lucid contemporary designers and is committed to green design. This is green not only in the normal sense of making good use of non-renewable materials and recycling but also and above all in terms of promoting a minimalist, calm but expressive aesthetic. In this sense, he is a great follower of one age-old thread in Japan’s expressive tradition. His is a vision of design that puts interest in peoples’ behaviour before interest in the shapes of objects. “Design without thought`` and ``Design dissolving

behaviour`` are two concepts that express his belief in simplicity as a tool to achieve completeness and a harmonious relationship between object, user and environment. The aim of the designer is thus not to invent new things, but to improve what already exists, designing objects that seem to have been perennially present in our daily lives. His thinking is reflected in the “Shiba” pots and pans series and in the “Cha” kettle/teapot.

“THINKING TAKES A LONG TIME; FEELING IS IMMEDIATE. SEEKING AN IMMEDIACY THAT DOES NOT REQUIRE THE INTERVENTION OF THOUGHT IS THE ESSENCE OF DESIGN”
NAOTO FUKASAWA

Collaborations
View History