Classic Brands: Alessi

When it comes to modern, beautiful, functional and fun design, Italian company Alessi is head and shoulders above the rest. Founded in 1921 by Giovanni Alessi, the family-run company originally made metal kitchen and tableware, though it wasn't long before it branched out to other materials and products. Alessi has a reputation for working with new designers and great names alike, and for blurring the lines between design disciplines. Throughout the years, product designers, engineers and architects have all contributed to the company's design dossier, and big names like Phillippe Starck, Zaha Hadid and Michael Graves are just a sample of those who've lent their skills and vision to this company.

With three distinct lines under the Alessi umbrella, the company look ranges from simple and sophisticated metal products to colorful, lighthearted design which puts a smile on your face. Here are eight of the most iconic designs from this beloved Italian brand:

1. The 9093 Kettle was designed by Michael Graves and introduced in 1985. With its conical shape and colored plastic parts, it's since become a modern classic.

2. The Blow Up series of objects is by the Brazilian Campana brothers, and includes fruit bowls, trivets and even a small table.

3. With his Merdolino toilet brush, Stefano Giovannoni takes an unromantic item and makes it tactile and inviting. The brush was controversial when it was first released, but has since become a commercial success.

4. A great example of Alessi's form-follows-function ethos is Phillippe Starck's Juicy Salif citrus juicer. Perfect for creating a glass of fresh-squeezed juice, the item stands upright and proud, like a strange alien spaceship.

5. The stainless steel and bakelite construction of the Ottagonale coffee pot, designed by Carlo Alessi in the 1930's, has become so commonplace as to seem archetypical.

6. Alessi's pet products have been hugely popular over the years, and the cheery Tigrito cat bowl set by Miriam Mirri illustrates why.

7. Alessi has seen success with several collections of pots and pans, but this set by Jasper Morrison is especially popular. The knob, which allows you to lift the lid off with a wooden spoon, is particularly inventive.

8. Anna G, the friendly-faced corkscrew released in 1994, has become a cult figure over the years, and given rise to a whole collection of colorful, tongue-in-cheek kitchen items from the brand.

(Images: as linked above)

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