Eine Fabrik des italienisches Designs seit 1921

Entdecken Sie die Geschichte und die Ursprünge von Alessi und erfahren Sie, wie die Zusammenarbeit mit den interessantesten Designern entstanden ist..

1920 -

Die Anfänge

In 1921, Giovanni Alessi and his brother founded Fratelli Alessi Omegna - FAO, a “Workshop for processing brass and nickel silver sheet, with a foundry”. FAO’s first production was inspired by the dictates of the most prestigious manufacturers of objects for the home of the early 20th century, particularly those from Austria and England. Giovanni was obsessed with quality and skilled craftsmanship: his products made of copper, brass and nickel silver, which were subsequently plated with nickel, chrome or silver, became immediately renowned for their meticulous crafting and perfect finish.

1930 -

Carlo Alessi

1932 tritt Giovannis Erstgeborener, Carlo Alessi, noch als ganz junger Mann in die Firma ein. Ab Mitte der 1930er Jahre bis 1945 gestaltet er den Großteil der hergestellten Objekte. In den 1930er Jahren beschleunigt sich das Wachstum des Unternehmens, die Zahl der in der Fertigung beschäftigten Arbeiter*innen nimmt zu und ein erstes Vertriebsnetz wird geschaffen. Dank Carlos Talent als Designer erblicken die ersten Produkte das Licht der Welt, die sich durch Originalität und kreative Eigenständigkeit auszeichnen. Am Ende des Jahrzehnts verlangsamte sich diese vielversprechende Beschleunigung jedoch aufgrund der veränderten politischen Situation.

1940 -

The War

Mit dem Ausbruch des Zweiten Weltkrieges werden die Fratelli Alessi Omegna, wie viele andere italienische Unternehmen, in die Herstellung von Kriegsmaterialien einbezogen. Nach dem Ende des Konflikts und Wiederaufnahme der Geschäftstätigkeit, legt die FAO die Grundlagen für den Umbauprozess von einer handwerklichen zur industriellen Produktion. Darüber hinaus entwickelt sie mit zunehmender Entschlossenheit ein eigenes Produktimage, das mit der Kreativität der wichtigsten Unternehmen der Branche mithalten kann und den Weg in die aufstrebende italienische Designszene eröffnet.

1950 -

Ettore Alessi

The company gradually abandoned the use of soft metals in the '50s, replacing them with stainless steel, transforming production from artisan to industrial. A sign of change with a new name: ALFRA (ALessi FRAtelli). During these years, the company specialised in the production of objects for professional use (for hotels, restaurants, bars, etc.). Carlo Alessi, the founder’s eldest son, took over from his father at the company helm. His brother Ettore, who had joined the company in 1945, became head of the Engineering Department, consolidating its design identity: it was at this time that certain “industrial types” of product like baskets and fruit bowls made of steel wire were created. Led by him, ALFRA also began working in partnership with independent designers.

1960 -

Ceselleria Alessi

In den 1960er Jahren entsteht neben Produkten für den professionellen Bereich eine Kollektion an Objekten, die speziell für den häuslichen Gebrauch gedacht sind. Die Objekte der „Ceselleria Alessi“, deren Formgebung sich von der Überarbeitung klassischer Silberwaren-Stile ableitet, treffen den Geschmack der Zeit und werden bald zu wahren Bestsellern. In dieser Zeit explodiert der internationale Markt, auf dem die Qualität der Ausführung der neuen polierten und satinierten Stahlprodukte zum gewinnbringenden Faktor für das italienische Unternehmen wird. 1964 wird es mit dem prestigeträchtigen Preis „Mercurio d’Oro per l’industria“ ausgezeichnet und lässt dabei über hundert konkurrierende Unternehmen hinter sich. Womit es sich als eines der kreativsten und einsatzfreudigsten Unternehmen der Branche etabliert.

1970 -

Die ersten Design-Helden

In 1970, Alberto Alessi, the founder’s grandson, joined the company. A collection of trays and baskets designed by the Exhibition Design group, a modular table service system conceived by Franco Sargiani and Ejia Helander, and Alessi d’Après, were the first designs he developed. Alessi d’Après was a research operation for the production of “art multiples” which involved, along with others, Salvador Dalì: a clear declaration of Alberto’s desire to produce objects which were not only functional, but also capable of satisfying people’s need for art and poetry. In the ‘70s, after these initial projects, partnerships with Ettore Sottsass, Richard Sapper, Achille Castiglioni and Alessandro Mendini contributed to transforming the company into the Factory of Design imagined by Alberto.

1980 -

Tea & Coffee Piazza

In the first half of the ’80s, the partnership with Alessandro Mendini triggered the research operation entitled Tea & Coffee Piazza, aimed at exploring the world of international architecture to identify new talents capable of renewing the language of design that characterised objects for the home. The theme proposed to the architects involved was the “tea and coffee set”. Presented in 1983, the results of the “Tea & Coffee Piazza” research were hugely successful with public and critics alike, placing Alessi firmly among the Factories of Italian Design. The operation also led to the discovery of two great new designers: Aldo Rossi and Michael Graves.

1990 -

Young Designers & New Materials

Centro Studi Alessi (CSA) opened in the early ‘90s with a dual mission: to develop theoretical contributions on matters linked to objects and to coordinate the work that the company wanted to launch with young designers, no longer only those who already had a consolidated reputation. Alessi’s research opened the doors to new design languages and some of the icon-products of the time were created, including the Firebird gas lighter by Guido Venturini or the Mary Biscuit container by Stefano Giovannoni. Other materials were brought into production alongside steel which had been used almost exclusively until then. The catalogue was enriched with objects made of wood, plastic, glass, porcelain, ceramic, etc... The Alessi Museum opened in 1998.

2000 -

Tea & Coffee Towers

The Tea & Coffee Towers design operation opened the 2000s, following the same theoretic assumptions as Tea & Coffee Piazza, 20 years on. Once again, the theme proposed to the architects involved was the “tea and coffee set”, reducing their large-scale design visions to a smaller scale. The operation launched a new series of partnerships, including those with David Chipperfield, Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas, Zaha Hadid and Toyo Ito, bringing the eclectic character of the Alessi catalogue to full maturity. “All the knowledge and expansions of the previous catalogues”, notes Alessandro Mendini, “was furthered, amplified and reinterpreted with a dilation and proliferation of products that had never been experienced at any time previously throughout Alessi's history.” In 2000, Alessi launched partnerships with companies operating in production sectors very different from its own, offering great experience in the development of research in the design field.

2010 -

Ethisch und Radikal

Alessi’s research over the past decade has developed between two points, defined by Alessandro Mendini as “ethical” and “radical”. “Ethical”, considered as a leaning towards a new simplicity, and an austere kind of design. “Radical”, on the other hand, indicates the search for strongly expressive and decorative forms. Designs with a “radical” imprint (by Mendini or Marcel Wanders, for instance) and those with an ethical tendency (such as those of Naoto Fukasawa or David Chipperfield), can be read according to this dichotomy, despite the diversity of their languages inviting us to reflect on the relativity of this classification. The distinction between “ethical” and “radical” is a partial attempt to try and define the much more complex reality of design as an artistic and poetic creative discipline.

2020 -

Der Hundertjahrfeier entgegen...