The mission of Alessi:
I think that this will be the goal of design in the future (or at least, my goal for my future in the sphere of design): transforming the gadget function ascribed to objects by the consumer's society into a transitional opportunity, namely into an opportunity for consumers to improve their perception of the world.
This kind of activity is typically paradoxical in the original meaning alongside the rule, the norm, the standard, as a means of grasping the so-called reality of the world and of life to its full extent.
In the future most of our products will continue to be marked by a high degree of innovation and experimentation, as we believe this is the way to develop our ability to set trends, to promote our fame and to create a culture medium aimed at developing those projects we like to call Super & popular.
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Since time immemorial our family has been firmly established on Lake Orta. We originally come from Luzzogno, the oldest village in the Strona valley. The first Alessi we’ve traced was called Giovanni; in 1633 he married a certain Caterina Gozano in Luzzogno. That’s all we know about him, and we don’t know a great deal more about the eight generations separating him from us.
We nonetheless have no doubt that our forebears were among the many men from the Strona valley who, in the seventeen hundreds, went as far as Germany to learn the trade of pewter-makers. Some of their number stayed on to make their fortune; others returned home and opened the first craft workshops. Such were the beginnings of the making of metal household objects in Omegna (and its suburb Crusinallo), today one of the most dynamic centres in Europe for the production of such items.
The first metal household article manufacturer in the Cusio area was a man called Baldassarre Cane, who towards the mid-eighteen hundreds had the courage to leave Chesio (another small village in the Strona valley) for the lakeside and establish the first true workshop. Although the company no longer exists, by around 1900 it was a large employer. In the following years his example was followed by many dozens of craftsmen and small businessmen, who often learned their trade as workmen at Cane’s factory. During the course of one and a half centuries, pewter gave way to silver, aluminium and then stainless steel, which is still running its course. Yet during this period, the objects themselves have not changed, and our town remains dominated by this specialised industry. Along the shores of Lake San Giulio, amongst the Romanesque churches and the Baroque chapels, the household goods factories have become a true landmark, leaving their strong social and cultural imprint on the whole area. One of those early craftsmen/small businessmen was our grandfather, Giovanni Alessi.
That’s the way it was, our business venture was highly innovative right from the very start, always ready to experiment, to take a more poetical view of the world, though it was very much based on traditional production methods. In the space of a few decades, the Alessi company developed from a “Workshop with foundry specialising in working brass and nickel silver sheets” (according to the sign at our stand in the first trade fairs held in Milan in the 1920’s) into one of the “Factories of Italian design”.
Metal, and stainless steel in particular, still remains our mainstay,
but in recent years many new materials have begun to be introduced, offering our designers new expressive possibilities, and offering our customers some surprising new items and some wonderful little discoveries. The year 2006 will see the reclassification of all our products in three trademarks, “ALESSI”, “OFFICINA ALESSI” and “A di ALESSI”. These trademarks will not possess independent identities, but rather will reflect three different expressions of the same corporate identity and of the Engine of Design that is Alessi, i.e. an industry capable of offering the finest contemporary designs split by different price brackets and purchasing habits, without reaching any compromise, and of focussing, at least in part, on different sales targets.
The “ALESSI” trademark will continue to express the best industrial mass productions of our sector, both from the point of view of design and production quality. The “OFFICINA ALESSI” trademark will include our most sophisticated, expensive, experimental and innovative products, as well as our small-scale and limited productions. The “A di ALESSI” trademark will include our most democratic and accessible products, i.e. those of a decidedly lower price range.
This catalogue reveals the “ALESSI” range of products and illustrates the greatest number of our products, around 350 projects.
Retrieved November 20, 2011 from Alessi: http://www.alessi.com/en/company/briefly-alessi