Alessi is a kitchen utensil company from Italy. They design everyday items from plastic and stainless steel.
From the 1980s onward, Alessi has been particularly associated with the notion of "designer" objects - otherwise ordinary tools and objects executed as high design, particularly in a post-modern mode, from designers such as Philippe Starck. Most of the memorable "designer kettles," "designer toothbrushes," "designer graters" and so on were Alessi products.
Alessi was founded in 1921 to produce crafted products in metal for eating and drinking, by Giovanni Alessi. In 1935, Carlo Alessi (born 1916), son of Giovanni, was named chief designer. In 1945 he ascended to chief executive and designed the coffee service Bombé, an industrial piece manufactured in four sizes. That same year Carlo's younger brother, Ettore Alessi, joined the company as a technician.
By the 1980s, Alberto Alessi took over the management of Alessi (which he still does today) and launched the Alessi company into the design decade through collaborations with designers and architects such as Alessandro Mendini, Ettore Sottsass, Richard Sapper, and Achille Castiglioni. In 2004 Alessi launched the Tea & Coffee Towers, with a new generation of architects such as Wiel Arets, Zaha Hadid, Toyo Ito, Tom Kovac, Greg Lynn, MVRDV, Jean Nouvel, and UN Studio.
Among the best known of the company's product range are Richard Sapper's kettle with a two-tone whistle, Michael Graves' kettle with the bird shaped whistle, Massimo Giacon's Mr Suicide, and Philippe Starck's playful three-legged Juicy Salif citrus squeezer.
In 2006, the company reclassified its products under three lines: A di Alessi (products with lower price points), Alessi (the main collection) and Officina Alessi (the most experimental and limited edition pieces). 2006 also saw the opening of Alessi's first New York City flagship store in SoHo.
Another notable collection is the collaboration with the National Palace Museum of Taiwan, a collection of various kitchenware products with asian themes.
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