Italian design company Alessi is known worldwide for bringing design into the home, literally. The innovative and clever takes on normal kitchen and other household objects have come to define the look of a contemporary home.
Rosie Millard of the Daily Telegraph was able to sit down opposite Alberto Alessi at the Alessi headquarters in Crusinallo Piedmont, amid all of the recognizable utensils, and ask the designer about how he handles business, ideas and what's up next for Alessi.
Alberto Alessi is the third Alessi to take over the company, founded in 1921 by his grandfather, Giovanni, who produced metal kitchen utensils. Alberto's father took over, and in 1945 designed the cups that many Italians drank their espresso from.
Alberto's turn was next, and he revolutionized the business, bringing on modern designers to add beauty and luxury to the company's standard housewares.
In the interview, Alessi gives some insight into his products: “We do not offer things which people fundamentally need but we deliver something which answers a wish, a dream,” he told Millard.
One of the most interesting parts of the interview, is a look into the Alessi prototyping formula. Every design is subject to his "fail-safe" mathematical model that focuses on the emotional and practical reactions of a customer.
Some fun facts about the formula:
Alessi revealed a not-so-secret: even though he allows other big names to operate under his umbrella, everything must be made just outside of Milan-- no ifs, ands or buts. "Creativity is in our DNA," he told Millard.
So what's next for Alessi? A product he called the (Un)Forbidden City, or a series of eight trays designed by prominent Chinese designers, that will be out this spring.
“We do believe that beauty can save the world,” he says. He believes that his butter dishes, tea caddies and loo brushes offer a democratic notion of a “social utopia”. “As industrialists,” he says, reminding me that he does not consider himself a designer, “we can give a meaningful contribution to the world.”
To read the whole interview, and for the author's tips on how to achieve the Alessi "look," click here.
Images: Sugar bowl: Cooks & Kitchens/Flickr, egg cup: Armin/Flickr
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com