A whistle-stop word with Alberto Alessi

Alberto Alessi, managing director of Alessi, heads up the “Italian factory of design”, which is known for its kitchenware products and collaborations with industrial designers. Alessi visited London last week with designer Mario Trimarchi who has designed the packaging of the new Super & Popular range.

Alberto Alessi

Source: Mads Mogensen

Alberto Alessi

How did you select and what defines the Super and Popular range?

AA: It was simple: we selected from around 1.000 different projects in catalogue, the 70 that proved to be together Super and Popular: the first meaning able to express the best in aesthetic terms and the second being able to be understood and accepted by people, our customers.
A little miracle.

You’ve worked with many UK designers in the past; are there any you particularly admire?

I’ve an immense admiration for many. Considering that the discipline of industrial design has been first developed in the UK, my number one is Christopher Dresser, the very first industrial designer in history.

Are there any designers you’d like to work with?

Well we are endlessly looking for new collaborations, to keep fresh our network  – of 300 authors today – even if I may say at the moment I’m fine.

When you chose a designer to work with how does a project develop?  Do you develop a brief together? Do you suggest a type of product?

We work two ways: the classic way means we develop a briefing then I start thinking whom could be more appropriate to work on it, but we also practice a more spontaneous way meaning all our authors know they can call me saying Alberto I’ve a fantastic idea for you. It’s half and half.

Today many young designers are self-funding projects through platforms like Kickstarter. Do you think young designers still aspire to work with established brands like Alessi? 

These platforms are welcome and may be a good useful tool to exercise for young designers. I do not see a competition with real industry: if they are looking for a serious industrial product we should be able to produce a better product from their concept and make better sales.

One side of packaging for Michael Graves's 9093 Kettle
One side of packaging for Michael Graves’s 9093 Kettle

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