How Alessandro Mendini Underpins the Success of Alessi

Born 1931 in Milan, Alessandro Mendini has grown from being a reluctant architect into one of the key movers behind late Twentieth Century Italian design. rock anchor testing

Surprisingly, he didn’t actually design anything until around 1980. During the previous ten years, he had become hugely influential as the editor of several leading architectural and design journals (including Casabella and Domus), even picking up a Compasso d’Oro for his theoretical input along the way.

Although the famous Italian housewares manufacturer, Alessi, had already moved from being a producer of high-quality hotelware, there is no doubt that Mendini’s close friendship with Alberto Alessi helped to fuel the company’s move into the design-led mainstream.

Always leaning towards the ‘creativity-driven’ approach to designing objects, it’s easy to understand how Mendini has become almost the ‘favourite cousin’ of the Alessi dynasty and a guiding figure to many of the rising design stars of the last 25 years. His impact can be seen by perusing the Alessi collection on the Cooks&Kitchens website where many of his iconic pieces can be seen.

Indeed, through the auspices of Atelier Mendini (with his brother, Francesco), a roll-call of the design world’s greatest names have been brought together on various projects over the past 17 years. Many of these projects have involved young designers who have later gone on to design for Alessi.

Mendini pieces are now a key feature in many museums around the World with particularly strong representations at New York’s MOMA and the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

Although he designs for a number of companies in the field of furniture and timepieces, it is his association with Alessi that is best known. From the iconic Anna G, visible as a full range at the Cooks&Kitchens website, to the restraint of the Recinto project, Mendini has always offered something playful in his reinterpretation of everyday objects. By contrast, if Starck’s approach demands that we re-assess an object, Mendini just beguiles us with a twinkle in the eye

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