ALESSI: More is Less / More is More

The Alessi company has written the history of design and continues to actively participate in the landscape of contemporary design.

Giovanni Alessi was a skilled metalworker. In 1921 he bought a piece of land in Omegna and begun to produce household items and tableware from copper, brass and alpacca, and subsequently he start to use nickel, chrome or silver-plated. Giovanni had a real obsession that the product is good in quality and properly prepared: its products have quickly become known for meticulous and perfect finishing.
First Alessi products have been inspired by the canons set by Austrian and British factories.

To 1924. The factory Alessi Fratelli Omegna (FAO) was producing mostly the small items, even caffettiere and trays, but not so much pots and cutlery, which production required more complex materials and technical procedure.
Quality cookware of Giovanni Alessi rapidly progressed thanks to innovative techniques such as chromium in galvanic baths, nickel plating and silver plating. The products were healthy, solid and reliable for everyday use, and light and refined traditional design become well-known.


In 1935, Carlo Alessi (born 1916), son of Giovanni, was named chief designer. In 1945 he ascended to chief executive and designed the coffee service Bombé, an industrial piece manufactured in four sizes. That same year Carlo’s younger brother, Ettore Alessi, joined the company as a technician.


In 1935 Alessi creates famous “octagonal service for tea and coffee”, and the first pieces made of stainless steel (inox) at the end of the 1940’s.
During the war, due to pause in making dishes, Alessi products metal insignia for uniforms and components for aircraft Savoia Marchetti. After the war, the huge demand for brass ladles for the U.S. Army required quick decision and action: Alessi doubles machine, expanding the factory and launch production in large batches. As we have already had a pioneering intuition, stainless steel covering ground leaving behind a chrome metal and silver alloy.
In 1947 the sign of the eagle and the inscription ALFRA (Alessi Fratelli) replaces the old acronym FAO. The new sign has remained in use until 1967. occurs when the sign Cesseleria Alessi.
In 1970’s Alessi factory have worked with numerous artists of the time: Italian sculptors Gio Pomodoro, Carmelo Cappello, Pietro Consagra i Andrea Cascella i Yugoslav Dušan Džamonja. That was short period of the “Aesthetic Factory”, an adventurous experiment in the pots, the anti-design, the ludic-psychoanalytical moment and the anthropological one.

By the 1980s, Alberto Alessi took over the management of Alessi (which he still does today) and launched the Alessi company into the design decade through collaborations with designers and architects such as Alessandro Mendini, Ettore Sottsass, Richard Sapper, and Achille Castiglioni. In 2004 Alessi launched the Tea & Coffee Towers, with a new generation of architects such as Wiel Arets, Zaha Hadid, Toyo Ito, Tom Kovac, Greg Lynn, MVRDV, Jean Nouvel, and UN Studio.

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Among the best known of the company’s product range are Richard Sapper’s kettle with a two-tone whistle, Michael Graves’ kettle with the bird shaped whistle, Massimo Giacon’s Mr Suicide, and Philippe Starck’s playful three-legged Juicy Salif citrus squeezer.


Today, Alessi product are still iconic. Even some of first designs are still in their catalogues, modern and wanted as always. In the product range is basicaly everything you need in your home – from kitchen to bathroom. You can find not just tableware, cutlery, pots and kettles, but also bathroom accesories, clocks, textiles, office accesories etc. The new collection “Ethical and Radical” unite the ideas Alessi company cherished through the time, the idea of cutting-edge design and eternal values of simplicity and modesty. The new project gather designers such as Marcel Wanders, Frederic Gooris, Karim Rashid, David Chippenfield, Gabriele Chiave, Piero Lissoni, Helen Kontouris, Naoto Fukasawa


By T.J. (NiceSpace)

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