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Designing Alessi

Architects and designers contribute to ever-expanding lineup of new products for Alessi

For Spring/Summer 2017, Italian powerhouse Alessi unveils a fresh and varied collection of functional objects for the home. Through its ever-evolving number of design collaborations with both emerging talent and internationally renowned architects and designers, Alessi continues to refine its expertise in the research laboratory and in the production facility in Crusinallo di Omegna. Previously unexplored metals such as titanium are now featured, alongside materials such as stainless steel and plastic—long part of Alessi’s extensive and finessed product line.

Bottle opener by Frédéric Gooris.

Featured in the new collection is Forma, a grater designed by the late Zaha Hadid. Forma is the Iraqi architect’s final project for Alessi. Like many of the 2004 Pritzker Prize-winner’s visionary architectural works, the grater is inspired by natural forms that have been smoothed over time by water and wind. Consisting of two elements, a sculptural black base holding a mirror-polished stainless-steel grater, Forma has an ergonomic shape designed to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. The asymmetrical pattern of holes, like pebbles in a river bed, create a unique and irregular grating texture. Moved by the piece which is “so beautifully Hadidian as to not require comment,” Alberto Alessi hopes it will “carry its refined message to audiences even far outside the usual circle.”

Collaborations with global starchitects continue with Daniel Libeskind’s Water Tower container as the singular addition to the Officina Alessi catalogue for Spring/Summer 2017. Inspired by the legacy of the great Milanese architect and designer Aldo Rossi, Libeskind has created a miniature work of architecture for the table reminiscent of Rossi’s analysis of the relationship between urban planning and the domestic landscape. An interpretation of the iconic American water tanks still seen on New York City rooftops, the Water Tower comprises a mirror-finished cylinder of banded stainless steel atop a lattice-structure base, capped by a classic pointed lid. Both a refined object and manufacturing challenge, this new container is the result of Libeskind’s ingenuity and the high level of technical skill of Alessi’s production technicians at their factory in Crusinallo. Used to store sugar cubes at the table, to safeguard keepsakes on a nightstand, or to conceal useful items for the desktop, Water Tower scales down the grandeur of the urban environment for everyday use in the home.

Bark by Michel Boucquillon and Donia Maaoui.

Another highlight in the Spring/Summer 2017 lineup is the Bark series, designed by Michel Boucquillon and Donia Maaoui. Drawing once more on Alessi’s expertise in sheet-metal manufacturing, Bark manifests as a bottle rack, flower vase, and paper roll holder. Capturing the atmosphere of the designers’ home, Bark recreates the design of the house’s shutters, evoking the knots, bark and trunks of the trees in the surrounding woods. These new additions are available in polished stainless steel and powder-coated black or white, each offering a distinct aesthetic quality to suit a variety of home environments.

The Pizzico salt castor by a design trio comprised of Manuela Busetti, Andrea Garuti and Matteo Redaelli revisits the act of using your fingers to season food. The castor features a silicone body that allows the user to pinch the container and crush the crystals without ever making direct with the salt itself. The pliable material allows for easy control of flow without clogging. It is a perfect fusion between the age-old gesture of taking a pinch of salt and the practical solution of the classic shaker. With a stainless-steel base, Pizzico is offered in four colours: black, grey, light green and white.

Daniel Libeskind’s Water Tower container.

Alessi’s celebrated Objets-Bijoux series has also been expanded with a number of new small, functional objects that bring new forms to the many pieces already in the collection. A particular highlight is a bottle opener by Frédéric Gooris bearing the evocative title of Virgula Divina. The Latin term for a Y-shaped rod or “water diviner” that is used as a supernatural tool to indicate underground sources of water, this ancient practice inspired Gooris, resulting in an instrument that both literally and conceptually creates access to a beverage. The form of the dowsing rod also translates well here, as Gooris explains: “the Y-shaped rod is generally a freshly broken-off branch. The broken wood is the ideal shape to grab the cap of the bottle, while the other endings are soft and natural, giving a comfortable grip.”

And finally, Alessi’s exploration of Living Accessories continues in 2017 with a new wall clock from architect Michele De Lucchi called Raggiante. Crafted from bamboo, a natural material that changes and improves over time, the clock joins with a part of De Lucchi’s broader research into materials that “age well” – taking into account the very concept of time and aging. Designed in the form of a sun with 24 rays emanating from its centre to mark hours and minutes, the orange aluminum hands stand out against the natural colour and warmth of the wood.

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