“I consider Alessi a good example of the ‘Italian Design Factories’ phenomenon, but I insist on the fact that we are more than an industry in the conventional sense. We are instead a research workshop in the field of applied arts whose inherent attitude, even though we rely on contemporary industrial technology, is still rooted in handicraft culture.”
First exhibited at London’s V&A museum in 2013 as part of the London Design Festival, Alessi Made in Crusinallo. The Beauty and the Mastery moves to the Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln (MAKK) in Cologne, Germany until 3 April 2016. The display charts the evolution of Alessi’s from foundry to ‘Italian Design Factory,’ from the Bombé tea and coffee service first designed by Carlo Alessi in 1945 and an example of the early period of Italian design, to icons like the 9093 kettle designed by Michael Greaves in 1985, and current projects such as the “Dressed” collection by Marcel Wanders and the Kaleidos basket by Naoko Shintani (just to name a few), offering a rare insight into the company’s production and creative processes.
The exhibition unveils through a sample of sketches, drawings, protoypes and finished products and a series of seven short videos showing the different design and production stages, a perfect combination of industrial innovation and artisanship.
There are also some interesting facts about the history of some of Alessi’s most iconic designs. Like the beautiful Neapolitan Coffee Maker (or 90018) designed by Riccardo Dalisi, the product with the longest research and development (from 1979 to 1987) and 200 working prototypes produced in the process. Or like the classic 9090, the mocha designed by Richard Sapper in 1979, Alessi’s first mocha and Alessi’s first winner of the prestigious Compasso d’Oro design award. Sapper was initially interested in designing cutlery, and once convinced he didn’t just create a coffee maker, but a small steam machine, perfectly designed to the last detail.
By narrating its story in such a vivid way, the exhibition brings Alessi to life, showing how every object is a small but ingenious adventure of creativity and technology wonderfully and creatively mixed with traditional craftsmanship.
See more of Alessi on Luxxdesign.com.