manufacturer of household (1921)
The Alessi company was founded by Giovanni Alessi in 1921 in Omega, village on Lake Orta in the foothills of Novara. John was a skilled metal turner, latest in a long line of craftsmen in the nearby Valley Strona.
During the twenties and thirties in his workshop is created handcrafted tableware and home made with great care executive copper, brass and nickel silver, which were then nickel, chrome and silver.
Many of the numerous articles produced in this period (such as tea and coffee nickel silver, 1921, reggifiasco nickel plated brass of 1926 or the cheese tray in polished nickel and opal glass of 1929) joined part of the collective memory of past generations of Italians.
The design (in the sense that this term is understood today) makes its appearance in the late thirties with Giovanni's eldest son, Charles. Charles was trained as an industrial designer in Novara. He was responsible for most of the objects in catalog from the middle of the decade to 1945, year of presentation of his latest project: the standard tea and coffee 'bombs', one of the archetypes of the first epoch of Italian design.
In the fifties, he became director general, and with his brother Hector, the company begins to open to collaboration with external designers, including Luigi Massoni and Anselmo Vitale Mazzeri Charles, author of several highly successful projects still in the catalog (such as the cocktail shaker No. 870 of 1957).
One of the characteristics of Alessi now has the ability to reconcile the requirements (operational and objective) typical of an industry trend with the (intellectual and spiritual) to be considered as a "laboratory for research in the field of applied art" that an industry in canonical sense.
Hence his tireless research and experimentation, which brought in recent years to open itself to new technologies and new materials: wood, porcelain and ceramics, plastics, glass and crystal, electricity and electronics.
The Alessi has produced in its history objects created by over two hundred designers. Among the designers, the company history: Ettore Sottsass, Richard Sapper, Achille Castiglioni, Aldo Rossi, Michael Graves, Massimo Morozzi, Philippe Starck, Stefano Giovannoni e Guido Venturini, Enzo Mari ... and Alessandro Mendini, who from 1979 also plays the role of design consultant.
Since 2006 production has been divided into three brands: Officina Alessi, Alessi and A di Alessi. The latter is intended to receive the products more affordable in order to reach a wider audience, while maintaining the design quality of the "Fabbrica dei sogni" (Fabric of Dreams), while in Officina Alessi products are harvested more sophisticated, experimental and innovative, small number of production and limited series, selected to the best shops for home and for gifts.