Alessi’s Table Toppers
Alessi’s 2017 Fall/Winter Collection introduces a plethora of new and reissued objects that continue the company’s tradition of innovation and forward-thinking design.
Grind is a salt, pepper and spice mill designed by trusted collaborators William Alsop and Federico Grazzini. The design is not simply a gadget for the table, but a part of an essential experience. While typical pepper mills rest with the mechanism pointed down and often leave residue on the table, Grind is designed to sit with the key mechanism facing upward in an elegant position. The grinder is clearly on display and stylishly framed by its distinctive design.
The body of the pepper mill is made of die-cast aluminum with an interior in nylon, and available in both black and silver. According to the designers, it was important that the object “gives a sense of solidity and weight when held in your hand,” and does not “give the impression of being a gadget or ephemeral object, but rather something substantial and important.” Adjusting for personal preference and spice type is easy with Grind, as the grinding wheel can be twisted clockwise for a finer grind or counter-clockwise for a coarser result.
Alessi has also chosen to commemorate the 100th birthday of late designer Ettore Sottsass with a limited-edition reissue of his iconic Twergi bowl. In his lifetime, the Italo-Austrian architect and design revolutionary left a lasting impression on Alessi, the Italian Dream Factory, and its president Alberto Alessi. Crafted from lime wood with a bright red painted base, Twergi will be a limited edition of only 999 pieces. As before, the collection will be produced using traditional handcraft techniques of the Strona Valley. Originally introduced to the Alessi catalogue in 1990, Twergi, which means “dwarf” or “forest ghost” in the dialect of the mountain folk of the Strona Valley, alludes to the friendly and funny creatures with its soft form, warm wood and bright colours.
Initiated by Carlo and Ettore Alessi, the collaboration between Ettore Sottsass and Alessi began in 1972. At that time, the architect was already well known for his work with Olivetti on the Valentine typewriter and was renowned as a radical design guru – philosophical, charismatic and interested a wide range of issues. For Sottsass, the essence of design was not only to give an object its form, but to create a manner of expression for discussing social issues, politics or life in general. Many iconic design products for Alessi emerged from these discussions about the aesthetics of design and the role of industrialists in society.
As a founder of the Memphis Group, Sottsass never conceived the form of a product as an end in itself but as a starting point for an interaction with its user. His critical view on things, his coherent design and his acute sense for the essential have made Sottsass’s products a prominent part of the Alessi identity. Both the designer and Alessi had the common goal to design a complete series of objects for the table that speak a universal language.
Incorporating a unique production process enhancing Alessi’s capabilities, a new collection of trays, bowls and baskets comprise the Extraordinary Metal Collection. Metalwork has always been the very heart of Alessi, a skill acquired as part of the art of shaping materials. Over the course of the company’s history, the workshop has focused on different metals: pewter, nickel silver, brass, copper and of course, steel. Here, the collection explores exciting new metallic surfaces: brass, a malleable material used by the company since the 1930s, has been chosen to offer an industrial take on a refined, ancient goldsmith’s technique: Etruscan granulation.
Granulation is a sophisticated technique that involves welding tiny gold or silver spheres onto a metal foil. The history of this process spans time, place and culture, becoming a highly expressive means for producing beautiful jewelry. The granulation within the Extraordinary Metal project, obtained through a cold milling process, is applied to a series of objects which interact with light to create gleaming, textured surfaces that enhance both complex shapes and pure, simple lines. The arrangement of the granules follows a geometric order generated by the Fibonacci sequence, named after the Italian mathematician who identified the numerical code behind the Golden Ratio, one of the principles that governs shapes in nature.
Finally, Alessi’s Objets-Bijoux Collection, a celebrated series of functional small objects for everyday use, has been expanded with a hip flask and a new golden pink finish for eight items. Designed by Laura Polinoro LPWK – Paolo Gerosa, Shot is a sculptural hip flask with a surface that resembles liquid. The design duo created a fluid shape that looks as if it has been molded by the movement of its liquid contents. Aside from its aesthetic appeal, the rippled, liquid-like exterior surface is ergonomically designed to fit the palm of the hand perfectly. Shot is sized perfectly for slipping into the inside pocket of a jacket or small bag and comes in both stainless steel and the rose gold finish. A knurled cap makes for easy opening and closing, while a funnel makes for fuss-free filling.
Other items from the Objets-Bijoux Collection offered in the golden pink finish include: Minou purse hook, Tripod trivet, Pip key ring, Bulla bottle opener, Pes paper knife, Chestnut pill box, and Nut Splitter walnut opener.
Objets-Bijoux are expertly crafted from Alessi’s trademark stainless steel and showcase the wit, sense of humour, and functional elegance that has come to be expected from the design factory. Designers of the series include Giulio Iacchetti, Gabriele Chiave, Valerio Sommella, Frédéric Gooris and others.
With a vast product line that includes everything from an iconic, whistling teakettle to a designer fly swatter, the Alessi company, founded in 1921 by Giovanni Alessi, has long been at the forefront of innovative and inspired product design: serving trays, cutlery, and everything in between, creating some of the most celebrated cult objects in design history.
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