There are different sides to design. On one side we have mass-market pieces, while on the other side we find a more exclusive vision of design, strictly linked to art, one producing pieces that are each in their own unique and timeless.
When we think about iconic design makers, Alessi, one of the most internationally recognised Made in Italy companies, immediately comes to mind. Their products show the great care and passion put into them and all share a unique style and elegance that made Alessi a global success. This post will guide you through some of the most famous of Alessi’s products, true worldwide design icons that have become known as the Super & Popular by Alessi.
Let’s start with 9090 Coffee Maker designed by the great Richard Sapper. A record-breaking product for Alessi, it was the first coffee maker in their history, and their first kitchen product after the ‘30s. In 1979 it won the first Compasso d’Oro Award for Alessi, and it’s the first object to have become part of Permanent Design Collection at New York’s MOMA. Its simple lines and timeless style are a quintessential example of ‘70s design.
What about 9093 Kettle designed by another great, Michael Graves, recognisable everywhere thanks to its ‘bird whistle’ and one of the icons of ‘80s design. The kettle was the first product designed by an American designer for Alessi and it opened the doors to a more playful design that has become one of the brand’s signatures. Another great success, it is displayed at Paris’s Centre Georges Pompidou, the Design Museum of London, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Museum fur Gestaltung Zurich, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Australian National Gallery in Camberra and the V&A Museum in London.
La Cupola Mocha by Aldo Rossi is a miniature monument and it represents the perfect combination between architecture and interior design. The domed shape reminds of a typical element of the Italian landscape, the church. With simple lines and an element of irony, it is displayed at the Permanent Collections at Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, La Triennale di Milano and Due Neue Sammlung in Munich.
An icon of the ‘90s, Juicy Salif by Philippe Starck is the most recognised juicer of the XX century. Displayed in the most important museums of the world, Centre George Pompidou in Paris, Indianapolis Museum of Art, MAK in Vienna, MOMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Smithsonian in New York, La Triennale di Milano, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Juicy Salif was the subject of many critics and discussions, but remains and example of Alessi’s design philosophy. Like Starck himself said, “Juicy Salif could very well be viewed as a little alien who happened to stop by and pay a visit at home”.
And who has not seen products from the Girotondo collection? Initially developed by King Kong, the collection is inspired by the cut-outs of little men and women cartoons in a pattern reminding of the childhood game of ring around the roses. The designers have played on the comfort associated to childhood memories, which in their collection become a way to communicate. You must recognise the playful little figurines, used on many of Alessi’s products and another iconic design displayed at the Triennale di Milano, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Museum Fur Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt.
A reinterpretation of an object of daily use and a symbol of design from the late XX century, Anna G. is one of the most-loved Alessi’s products, displayed at the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, Indianapolis Museum of Art, La Triennale di Milano and Museum Fur Gestaltung Zurich. Designed by the great Alessandro Mendini, who had fun in recreating the human body and giving it a completely new function.
Stefano Giovannoni’s Mary Biscuit is an fun biscuit box whose shape reflects its function, a big colourful biscuit with a really unique feature — the lid emanates the scent of a biscuit! A simple yet fantastically ingenious piece of design, a true example of what makes Italian design and manufacture so extraordinary.
With Cactus Collection, designer Marta Sansoni explored a more decorative theme inspired by the patterns of nature and geometry. Each object in the collection is a unique and inimitable piece of home design that add a sophisticated and modern touch typical of the best of Italian design.
Urban chaos is represented in the Blow Up Collection by the Campana brothers. The contemporary and authentic look is reflected in simple and linear pieces. The Brazilian brothers use row materials and experiment with poor materials, recuperating them and giving them a new life, and adding an element of lightness and poetry to Italian design.
La Stanza dello Scirocco is a collection of unconventional products with abstract and modern shapes. The products seem to have been de-constructed and yet, in their chaos, they are perfect. in the words of designer Mario Trimarchi, “La Stanza dello Scirocco was born out of the abstract and motionless atmosphere of a magic place: the room in large Sicily country homes where one is forced to seek shelter from the sultriness while editing for the Sirocco to die down. It is a room without windows in which you can do nothing but ponder the wind that is undoing all sublunary things outside”.
Moka Alessi by Alessandro Mendini is a tribute to the great Alfonso Bialetti who in the ‘30s invented, designed and produced the famous Moka Express. Mendini has re-designed the original model, making it more contemporary and suitable to modern days. Mika Alessi is today a success celebrated throughout the world.
Last but certainly not least, we cannot forget Marcel Wenders, another great designer who made decorative themes his signature. His Dressed Collection he managed to create a multi-sensorial effect thanks to the textures added into the designs. Floral and baroque patterns perfectly contrast the brightness of materials.
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