Designed by Richard Sapper 1983
Alessi, founded in 1921 by Giovanni Alessi in Valle Strona in the Italian Alps an area famed for the making of small wooden and metal kitchenware. He was succeeded by his son, Carlo, a trained industrial designer, who between 1935 and 1945 developed virtually all Alessi products. In 1955 Carlo’s brother, Ettore, introduced the idea of collaboration with external designers.
In 1970 Alberto Alessi led the company and over the next fifteen plus years worked to great success with well known designers including Achille Castiglione (“Dry” cutlery set 1982), Richard Sapper (“Bollitore” kettle 1983), Michael Graves (“Bird Whistle” kettle 1995) and Phillipe Starck (“Juicy Salif” 1990 – see The Gallery).
My particular favourite of this era is Sapper’s 9091 ” Bollitore”kettle, Alessi’s first designer kettle. Its brass “nose” produces a short and pleasant melody as steam exits announcing that the water is boiling that was consistent with Sapper’s intention to avoid the usual stressful scream of a kettle. In so doing he created, what Alessi call, a “multi-sensory object for the kitchen”.
From the 1990s onward designer objects – usual house-hold objects were bestowed with the detailed attention of great designers becoming a core and expanding part of the Alessi offer increasingly working with more malleable materials, such as plastics.
It’s little wonder that many Alessi products are displayed in the product design sections of museums such as Museum of Modern Art New York, Victoria and Albert Museum (London) and the Pompidou Centre (Paris).
My pal gave me one of these beautiful kettles after I so admired his version at his Chelsea apartment in London in the late 1980’s. It is solidly built, full of grace, quality and humour.
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Photo courtesy of Alessi