The famous Italian brand Alessi celebrates its centenary with an exhibition entitled, Alessi 100-001, curated by exploring the company’s past, present and future. Held inside the Galleria Manzoni in Milan, the exhibition has been creatively divided into two parts, as indicated by the name Alessi 100-001The number 100 represents the company’s previous century and its twelve core values through the archive’s selection of historic prototypes displayed in 12 different rooms, all curated by the international practice of designer Michel de Lucci, AMDL Circle, while 001 represents the company’s first project in the next. 100 years old, conceived by the late designer Virgil Abloh. In the 12 months prior to the fair, 12 unreleased products were released as a special edition set representing the brand’s 12 core values. These 12 products were also first showcased with various unique formulations.
Founded in 1921, this dream factoryAs current company president Alberto Alessi calls it, it focuses on transforming the landscape of our homes with its range of products ranging from tableware, cooking utensils, clocks, furniture accessories, and lights to many other small household appliances. Alessi strives to serve as a bridge between international creativity, the public, the community and the market, transforming these creative expressions into tangible items that fulfill people’s dreams and imaginations. Recently, in an exclusive conversation with STIR, Alberto Alessi mentioned the genesis of the company’s 12 Core Values as the product of a “gradual acquisition of awareness” he received from speaking, discussing, and working with design designers – people like Alessandro Mendini, Aldo Rossi, Achille Castiglioni, and Richard Sapper, for example. Not limited.
The company’s journey from its inception to the present is displayed across 12 different rooms, collectively described as a corridor of curiosities by Alberto Alessi. Each of these rooms represents Alessi’s core principles: Industrial Craftsmanship, Art, Paradox, Beyond, Hybridity, Research Lab, Irony, Frontiers, Poetry, Object, Transcendence, and Future. Each room is designed as a space with distinct expression, character, and narrative, forcing viewers to go beyond their thinking to identify different designs and products that match each value.
The Industrial Crafts Room is organized as a small factory, while the Research Lab is a fascinating display of 30 different coffee makers and utensils from the archival collection. The hair room takes on a distinctive performance touch with a live performance by an actor, while the Paradox room is filled with gold-lined toilet rolls and stairs, a gold version of Stefano Giovannoni’s 1992 Merdolino toilet brush. Each space not only showcases Alessi products, but also forces the observer to consider and investigate the core values of the brand.
Everyday elements are hybridized but separated by glass panes from Alessi products including the Aldo Rossi-designed La Cubica cooking pot in the Transgression Room, while the Borderline room displays a selection of products from the past that pushed the boundaries of design possibilities. In another room representing Thingness—the quality of finding the true essence of something by shedding excess—Enzo Mari’s Farella Nutcracker sits atop a stack of walnuts cracked in space. In the Irony Room, the curling pitch is designed alongside the Bulbul boiler, designed by the late Italian designer Castiglioni in 1995.
The exhibition seamlessly transitions from his journey from the past to his vision of the future, says Alberto Alessi, “because the past matters only insofar as it can tell us what we will do tomorrow.” Part 001 displays the so-called “Occasional Object” cutlery collection, designed by Abloh, the famous late American fashion designer, and his multidisciplinary Alaskan studio. The set, unveiled in a stunning green room, features a spoon, fork and knife that can be attached or clipped with a carabiner. Stainless steel design is utilitarian and practical, allowing it to create alternative table settings; It can be used on the go, or even applied to the body. Each piece of the design was displayed on a green screen-like background, along with an Instagram filter for the virtual visitor experience, to mark this as the first project in the next 100 years of the brand’s existence. Alessi made of 001 heralds the start of a new era of innovation, reflecting the brand’s ambition to never stop and never stop dreaming.
Overall, the exhibition showcases Alessi’s collaborations with more than 300 designers and architects, illustrating how the company has always made a difference in the home landscape and continues to use its creativity, ambition, and ability to develop for its users. With this one-of-a-kind offering, Alessi looks forward to the next 100 years of exploration and experimentation while proudly honoring its legacy. Following the recent conclusion of Milan Design Week, the exhibition will run until June 26 at Galleria Manzoni in Milan, after which it will travel to various cities and design platforms around the world.
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