Living to be 100 years old is the best wish you can have during your lifetime. To go through history and to be a protagonist is practically a magnificent dream reserved for a very select few. The FAO Fratelli Alessi Omegna” was founded in 1921 by Giovanni and his brother, who founded a small workshop in Crusinallo, a hamlet of Omegna adjoining foundry for metalworking.

Their propensity for attention to detail, accurate artistry and an innate aptitude for good taste were the keys to a success that would consecrate them over the years among the world-famous Italian companies. In the 1930s, Giovanni’s son Carlo arrived, a talented young man with outstanding creative skills, and the company began to design and create its exclusive products. The workforce increased and created the first commercial network for distribution.

During the Second World War, Alessi converted to war material production due to changed political requirements. However, the subsequent post-war period laid the foundations for the transition from an artisan to an industrial dimension, adding increasing attention to the world of design as an added value for its products.

A sign of the change in the 1950s is the new name ALFRA (Alessi Fratelli) and the opening to collaboration with external designers to bring success and many awards. In 1970 Alberto Alessi got new creative contacts with famous artists including Salvador Dalí.

The first “Compasso d’Oro” Award came in 1979 with the 9090 coffee maker designed by Richard Sapper, the company’s first product exhibited at the MOMA in New York. Over the years the company was awarded no less than 10 Compasso d’Oro awards. The most important international design names collaborated with ALESSI: Achille Castiglioni, Zaha Hadid, Ettore Sottsass, Philippe Starck, Enzo Mari, Alessandro Mendini, Pio Manzù, Ron Arad and many other professionals who left their mark on the company’s history.

Products such as the Anna G corkscrew, the Juicy Salif citrus juicer, the 9093 kettles, the Girotondo collection, the Cupola, Pulcina and 9090 coffee pots and the DRY cutlery are counted as objects of the highest aesthetic and functional value. Since 1987 can be admiring prototypes, drawings, technical studies and important documents outlining its history at the Alessi Museum.

Today Alessi boasts a range of highly iconic products, ranging from kitchens to jewellery, from small electrical appliances to lamps, from watches to chairs, many objects that furnish homes worldwide with taste and originality. Production remains tied to Crusinallo di Omegna while the stores are present in the most important cities on all continents, proudly representing the highest levels of our much-appreciated Made in Italy.

Alessi continues to be the family company, founded on simple values, aimed at the world through innovation and the culture of beauty. The century has just passed opens a new window on the years to come, looking through the youthful eyes of a centenarian who has guided the family with the same open-mindedness since its foundation.

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Article by Antonio Erario

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