We've always liked Alessi. We're happy that Chicago made the short list for a flagship store.
The aesthetic is upbeat - Alessi products are a marriage of usability and whimsy. These are the things that are totally utilitarian - cookware, timers, watches, wine openers, pet dishes, glasses (you get the idea) made colorful and charming through good design.
The shop is located in the Tree Studios complex, joining DWR, Thos. Moser and P.O.S.H.; making this part of State Street an even more complete home decor stopping point.
The vintage Tree Studios space has been renovated and updated, including a full Alessi Cucina kitchen. The manager told us that they are looking into holding some cooking demonstrations/classes in the space.
A wide variety of the Alessi lines are available, from the classic cookware, serving pieces and tabletop items to quirky watches and q-tip holders. Designers for Alessi are numerous - Marc Newson, Piero Lissoni, Jasper Morrison, Karim Rashid, Mirri Miriam and Mendini Alessandro are all part of the long, long list.
We suggest stopping by in person to check out the goodies, including this kinetic sculpture featuring all sorts of Alessi products, on loan from Italy to the Chicago shop. Alessi is especially great for gifts (they have a wedding registry)- we find the prices are generally reasonable for the quality of design and manufacturing.