International icon at DI2011

At the helm of one of the world’s most iconic homeware brands is Alberto Alessi, one of the most influential people in contemporary design.

Alberto Alessi has been called the godfather of Italian design. His creative flair has introduced an innovative and practical range of products to the Alessi brand, facilitated partnerships with some of the world’s leading designers, and embraced “avant-garde thinking” in design.

As the third generation of the Alessi family to hold the reigns at the company, Alessi is today president of Alessi Spa, as well as head of marketing strategy, communication and design management. He is known to explore the frontiers of design and technology, and has worked since 1970 to establish Alessi as one of the most recognisable international design brands, particularly in kitchenware.

With more than 3 000 products in the company’s range, the Alessi brand is an icon the success of which can be ascribed to the importance its leader places on research. The more than 200 international freelance designers Alessi has collaborated with have also contributed to its success. These designers include Ettore Sottsass, Achille Castiglioni, Alessandro Mendini, Michael Graves, Philippe Starck, Ron Arad and Stefano Giovannoni. Other important collaborations include projects by David Chipperfield, Zaha Hadid and SANAA, and more recently with Matali Crasset, the Bouroullec Brothers, Naoto Fukasawa and Marcel Wanders.

Looking to the future of creativity, Alessi believes that the gadget function ascribed to objects by a consumer society will be given a transitional opportunity through creativity. It will be made “into an opportunity for consumers to improve their perception of the world”, he says.

In addition to his business success, Alessi:

  • Has received several international recognitions, including the Design Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1998.
  • Enjoys membership of the Honourary Committee of the Design Museum in London.
  • Is a member of the academic board of the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, Finland.
  • Was awarded senior fellowship at the Royal College of Art in London.
  • Received a honourary doctorate from the Birmingham City University in 2001.
  • Received a honourary arts doctorate from Lincoln University in 2010.
  • Has several published works, including La Cintura di Orione (1986), Not in Production Next to Production, (1988) and The Dream Factory (1998).

Alberto Alessi will be speaking at the 2011 Design Indaba Conference from 23 to 25 February

Watch the Trailer with Stefano Giovannoni