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ALESSI AND ICONIC PRODUCTS

V.Ryan © 2017

 
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The Italian company was founded in 1921 by Giovanni Alessi and initially concentrated on metal kitchenware. His products and designs of coffee pots became so popular, that by 1924 the brand name ‘Alessi’ was established. In the1930s, Giovanni’s son Carlo, joined the family company, which quickly progressed to the use of stainless steel and away from utilitarian designs, to more adventurous ones. The aim was to mass produce desirable, high quality, everyday household products.
 
OTTAGONALE COFFEE POT, 1935
BY CARLO ALESSI
  COFFEE POT BOMBÉ, 1945
BY CARLO ALESSI
 
 
 
 
By the 1950s the company broadened it’s approach, deciding to collaborate with well-known designers. The aim was to break away from modernism and even traditional designs and to try a more unconventional design ideas, including those from groups such as, Studio Alchima (Alessandro Mendini) and Memphis (Ettore Sottsass). Other designers associated with Alessi include Aldo Rossi, Philippe Starck and Michael Graves. As a result of the success that followed, Alessi formed the Officina product line, all based on the designs of acclaimed designers. This collaborative and creative approach, has become the hallmark of Alessi.
 
The products Alessi manufacture are to a very high standard, with high level craft skills and mass production processes involved. Each product displays some of the unique characteristics of the individual designer and often become a centre piece of discussion.
 
Whistling bird kettle, by Michael Graves has become an iconic design and incorporates influences from both Art Deco and Pop Art, with it’s bright colours and geometrical shapes. The design is the development of a typical kettle with whistle, into a desired, ‘designer’ product.
There is an obvious Bauhaus influence, in the shape of the handle and lid.
The concept is simple, when the kettle boils, the bird ‘sings’. This has been a very successful and popular product.
 
WHISTLING BIRD KETTLE, 1985, BY MICHAEL GRAVES.
 
 
 
 
JUICY SALIF - CITRUS SQUEEZER 1990
BY PHILIPPE STARCK
  Another design classic and icon. It is said that the original design was sketched on a napkin whilst Philippe was on holiday in Italy.
A piece of sculpture more than a functional object, as it does not have a base to collect the juice. This fact has not damaged it’s popularity and it is one of Starck’s most recognisable designs. The juicy Salif deserves to be the centre piece on the table, rather than storing it in a cupboard, waiting to be used.
     
ANNA G. CORKSCREW 1994 BY ALESSANDRO MENDINI
  The design pays ‘comical’ homage to a woman and has a smiling face and a retro bob hairstyle. In fact, it was inspired by a friend of Mendini, called Anna Gili. The levers are designed to look like open arms when in use. A perfectly symmetrical product, that led to a range of similar designs.
 
 
 
CONDIMENT SET: OIL, VINEGAR, SALT, PEPPER 1978, BY ETTORE SOTSASS
  With a background in architecture, Ettore Sotsass applied an architectural look to what could have been a simple four piece condiment set. The effect is that the set has a feel of symmetry, as found in many high rise buildings. The design has been influenced by the Art Deco style.
     
CHARACTERISTICS OF ALESSI PRODUCTS
 

QUALITY PRODUCT, REFLECTING A VERY HIGH STANDARD OF CRAFT WORK AND MANUFACTURE.

OFTEN DESIGNED BY FAMOUS, WELL-KNOWN DESIGNERS, WHO APPLY THEIR OWN STYLE AND EXPERIENCE TO EACH PIECE.

DESIGNED TO EVOKE EMOTIONS AND MEMORIES AND ARE OFTEN FUN.

UNUSUAL, STYLISH AND FUNCTIONAL PRODUCTS.

DESIGNED TO BE DIFFERENT.

EACH DESIGN HAS AN ‘ARTISANS’ OBSESSION FOR DETAIL, SOMETIMES OVERLOOKED BY OTHER MANUFACTURERS.

STAINLESS STEEL AND OFTEN OTHER METALS USED IN THE MANUFACTURE OF THE PRODUCT.

DESIGNS THAT STAND OUT AND BECOME THE FOCUS OF DISCUSSION.

EYE CATCHING, COULD BE DISPLAY PIECES.

PRODUCTS DESIGNED TO BE TIMELESS.

PRODUCTS ARE DESIGNED TO BE MASS PRODUCED.

 
 
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