«A new design challenge with the cutlery designed by Abloh» – Corriere.it

from Silvia Nani

The president of the brand of the same name talks about the meeting and the surprising collaboration with the streetwear designer, who died in November last year

On paper, it seemed like an impossible marriage: Alberto Alessi, president of the homogenous brand of tableware and kitchenware, to which we owe creations of the most famous designers of the historic and current scene; and Virgil Abloh, the acclaimed guru of streetwear who died suddenly a few months ago, whose passion for design was well-known, even though he had never actually experimented with an “industrial” object. Instead, the strength of this project – today the official launch of the exhibition Alessi 100-001 at the gallery Manzoni – it is precisely in their union that has revolutionized, without distorting its essence, the most traditional type of service: steel cutlery.

“Virgil Abloh has always impressed me, but I would never have thought of him for a project to do together. In fact, I have never been interested in fashion for my research work in design. I considered it a world too different from ours,” begins Alberto Alessi. “I knew Virgil for his role in Vuitton and for the only special furniture project with Vitra. It was he who was looking for us a year ago.” From the first cognitive contact between the two, after a few months, here comes a file of drawings along with the concept of inspiration: the sketch of a wrench. “Who knows why, but he connected Alessi and his world of household items with a mechanical workshop with his tools …” Alberto still smiles at the idea. “So we started a remote dialogue, the same interaction that is always established between me and the designers I work with. But I noticed that he had a completely different way of going than the others. So I decided that it was worth it not to intervene ‘.

Designs that arrive take the concept form: flat and angular cutlery, characterized by lightness. Real and aesthetic. “At first glance, we tried to explain to him the typical curves of cutlery and that the minimum thickness was illogical in terms of use. It seemed as if typology had never existed for him and had to be invented…. But at one point, the idea prevailed that since we already have so many cutlery sets in the catalog, we were not interested in adding another one. Unless it introduced a new concept. So we limited ourselves to minor corrections on the spoon cup and knife blade. Leaves him free ‘.

The square and perforated shape, vaguely reminiscent of the uprisings on the storage shelves, the carabiner, with which the cutlery can be hung on the belt, or perhaps a breach of custom, used to cover the table in an unconventional way. “He imagined a table of young people being in conversation, prepared with common objects. Of course, ergonomics was not one of his considerations, ”comments Alberto. “If I think of Achille Castiglioni’s Dry Cutlery, with the handle he described as comfortable as a pencil, or Sottsass’s Nuovo Milano, with their tactility and balance in shape … Virgil’s cutlery breaks a pattern. I think they will break through. ”

And this is where the entrepreneurial assessment that any new production venture requires emerges: “Given the complexity of the realization, it will be a limited series of 999 pieces. I think it can trigger the hunt for collectors. Also because the Occasional Objects cutlery has all the rights to be the beginning in a different way to understand the table, freer and more itinerant, which looks like the future: It is no coincidence that from today they will be exhibited to introduce the exhibition d. the Hundred Years of Alessi, celebrated through 12 of its iconic objects and their values. “With Virgil, we were able to come up with yet another cutlery project, a set of dishes and his interpretation of our Michael Graves kettle,” reveals Alberto. We will see them next year. “Every generation has a designer that it identifies with,” Virgil Abloh used to say. “And I’m trying to represent that generation.” Even at the table.

June 6, 2022 (change June 6, 2022 | 10:28)

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