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Nine Facts About Alessi

Dinner party season is upon us and a whole host of new serveware at has got us in the mood for entertaining. We put Italian design house Alessi in the spotlight, with a few fascinating facts about the brand’s rich history.

Founded in 1921 as a 'workshop for the processing of brass and nickel silver sheet metal,' the Alessi brand has become a beacon for the junction where art and industry meet in the almost-100 years since its inception. Here are nine things you might not know about the brand’s world-famous heritage and the inspiration behind some of its most iconic designs:

1. A family run business, Giovanni Alessi and his brother founded their engineering workshop in Omegna, Italy. Carlo, Giovanni’s eldest son, joined in 1932 and his grandson, Alberto, in 1970.

2. Each metal product is created through the traditional process of cold working, which sees plastic deformation strengthen the unique crystal structure of the metal at room temperature for a glossy finish and superior control over the end result.

3. In 1955, Alessi began collaborating with architects to design a series of objects for hotels, introducing the concept of ‘designer’ to the world of household goods.

4. Alessandro Mendini’s iconic Anna G. corkscrew, with its curved silhouette and smiling face, is rumoured to be inspired by an ex-girlfriend.

5. Eight years of research went into Riccardo Dalisi’s ‘Caffettiera Napoletana’, giving clean, modern lines to a time-honoured Italian kitchen staple.

6. Philippe Stark’s ‘Juicy Salif’ lemon squeezer, designed in 1990, can be found in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. On its 10th anniversary, a limited edition of 10,000 pieces were individually numbered and plated with gold.

7. Open by appointment only, the Alessi Museum in Omegna houses 25,000 objects, 19,000 drawings and 20,000 photographs from 1,000 designers.

8. Inspired by family trees – he has three sisters married to three brothers – Andrea Branzi designed a small collection of products, including the Scoiattolo nutcracker and toothpick holder, in complementary materials, mirroring the idea of a ‘good match’.

9. The Crevasse vase was designed by Zaha Hadid, the architect responsible for such seminal buildings as the London 2012 Olympic Aquatic Centre, the Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Opera House.

Shop our edit of Alessi's iconic products below.

Interested in all-things design? Go Inside The Studio with Matthew Williamson and Rupert Sanderson.

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