Italian houseware and kitchen utensil company ALESSI celebrates its centenary at Milan Design Week with the exhibition Alessi 100 – 001, which expresses the character of this Italian Design Factory as epitomised by its past, present, and future through the narration of the 12 founding values of the company’s identity and practice in the field of applied arts. Alessi 100 – 001 explores the past 100 years and, significantly, unveils its first new project of the next 100 in collaboration with the late designer Virgil Abloh. The exhibition takes place at Galleria Manzoni on Via Manzoni in Milan and it’s split into two components: the celebration of the centenary and the beginning of a new era of experimentation in partnership with Abloh.
While the 100 of the exhibition title refers to the design firm’s activity throughout its first century, which is illustrated through a series of installations curated by AMDL CIRCLE, the multidisciplinary studio founded by designer and architect Michele De Lucchi, the 001 refers to Alessi’s first project of its next 100 years. The project consist of a cutlery set created in partnership with Abloh and his London-based design studio Alaska Alaska, which is showcased in a modern-surrealist installation created by Studio Temp, the Italian graphic design studio that is a regular collaborator with the American fashion designer. Abloh had a new take on tableware and cutlery in general.
Virgil thought of Alessi as the best in class, not only in terms of its design history, but also because of the calibre of the artists and designers it has worked with in the past. This provided Virgil with the perfect context to actualise this project amongst great company. – Tawanda Chiweshe, Creative Director of Alaska Alaska
I founbd that Virgili had a completely different way to look at things and objects. So when he looked at our world, the world of Alessi, it was through the eyes of one who loved the idea of a mechanical workshop – I remember that the first reference he showed me was a wrench – very far from what we habitually think of as good design. It was almost brutalist. I found this very interesting, as for us it was a new approach. Alas, we had very little time to make our collaboration with Virgil, but I am so glad we did. – Alberto Alessi
The cutlery set, made in Italy, in stainless steel, features geometric shapes and comprises a knife, fork, spoon and, importantly, a carabiner to fasten all three to- gether, either in the context of a new way of setting the table, or as a means of attaching these utensils to the body. Tools that have become associated with the formality of place settings and a seated experience have thus been reanimated as objects that can be freed from convention. An example of the set will be showcased at the Alessi 100 – 001 exhibition, and the products will be concur- rently displayed in a Studio Temp-designed installation at Alessi’s flagship store at Via Manzoni 14. The edition is limited to 999 sets. – from Alessi