Alessi is a housewares and kitchen utensil company from Italy. They make everyday items from plastic and metal, designed by famous designers.
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. Many of the early memorable “designer kettles”, “designer toothbrushes”, “designer kitchenware” and so on were Alessi products, though competition in this product category has greatly increased since then.
Alessi was founded in 1921 by Giovanni Alessi. The firm began as a workshop in Valle Strona near Lake Orta in the Italian Alps near Switzerland. An area known for its tradition in making small objects of wood or metal for in the house and in the kitchen in general. Alessi started with producing a wide range of tableware items in nickel, chromium and silver-plated brass. The company’s intention was to produce hand-crafted items with the aid of machines. Design in the current sense of the term began when Carlo Alessi (born 1916), son of Giovanni, was named chief designer. Carlo was trained as an industrial designer. Between 1935 and 1945 he developed virtually all of the products Alessi produced. In 1945 he ascended to chief executive and designed the coffee service.
Alessi products are on display in museums worldwide like Museum of Modern Art New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, Pompidou Centre and Stedelijk Museum Italy.