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EXCELLENCE MADE IN ITALY: A PROFILE OF ALESSANDRO MENDINI

An innovator of Italian design, enthusiast of colour and futurism, Alessandro Mendini worked with many companies, from Alessi to Venini, from Cartier and Swatch to Swarovski. In 1979 and 1981 he received the Compasso d’Oro for his designs, and he edited numerous architecture magazines such as Domus, Modo and Casabella. Awarded with the European Prize for Architecture in 2014 and head of his design atelier together with his brother Francesco, Alessandro Mendini is a true excellence in the world of Italian design.

Mendini’s style gives life to peculiar objects, the result of the reinterpretation of architectural, artistic or design images that reflect the designer’s fairy-tale-like vision of his object and projects. His work is mainly inspired by the 1950’s, a period associated by Mendini to great euphoria, translated into the objects, which creates a connection between the person and the product. With his work Mendini wants to convey a sense of irony, transforming his objects into adult toys, without losing their functionality.

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Mendini thinks of Made in Italy as a great brand, rich in tradition, poetry and expressive sensibility, which cannot be lost or forgotten. This has led him to work with many Italian manufacturers, such as Alessi, with whom he has been collaborating since the 1980’s. Like the designer, Alessi is also renown for the playful style of (some of) their objects combined with a strong sense of aesthetics, which result in design icons, at time unique pieces that can be seen as true art.

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One of the best examples of Mendini’s work for Alessi is Anna G., the legendary corkscrew  designed at the turn of the century that made a huge impact not only because of its name but especially because of the unusual design of a traditional kitchen accessory. Having thoroughly studied the human body and face, Mendini tried to give a personality to its objects by transforming their shapes, like a game.

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Parrot is another example of his design vision, a corkscrew shaped like a parrot, colorful, joyful and ironic, exactly like its creator. Finally, we cannot forget to mention Alessi’s Moka, a homage to Alfonso BIaletti, the inventor of the famous Moka Express in the 1930’s. Mendini reinterpreted this great invention through a contemporary design, fully aware of the use we make of the mock today, and making Moka an extremely successful product.

 

I had a long childhood, I don’t even know if it’s over.
Alessandro Mendini

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