Cooper Hewitt says...

Founded in 1921 by Giovanni Alessi Anghini, the family-owned Italian metalwork manufacturer Alessi has produced household and kitchen wares for nearly a century under the premise that people are not motivated merely by functionality, but have a relationship with their things. The firm believes that designers are the professionals who create objects capable of capturing the publics’ imagination and heart.

In 1932, Giovanni’s son Carlo joined his father as the firm’s designer, and began to focus on the appearance of their designs. By 1935, the firm began to shift from production by hand toward industrial techniques and aesthetics, transitioning to mass production in 1945. Between the mid-1940s and the 1950s Alessi focused on sophisticated metal products for industries like hotels, restaurants and airlines. Iconic pieces from this period include Breadbasket 826 (1948) and Sugar Bowl 104 (1956).

In 1950, Carlo became President and his brother Ettore, Vice President. Under Ettore, Alessi began producing signed and numbered pieces by international designers and architects. Carlo’s son, Alberto, joined the firm in 1970, and began collaborating with notable designers and architects including Ettore Sottsass, Robert Venturi, and Michael Graves. Under Alberto's guidance, the emphasis on good design continues today--the Campana Brothers, Marcel Wanders, and Naoto Fukasawa are among the roster of designers working with Alessi in the twenty-first century.