Alberto Alessi Considers Design as an Applied Art
As the eldest son of Carlo Alessi, he represents the third generation of the Alessi family, and officially joined the company in 1970, the day after he graduated from law school. One of his first projects was to overhaul the company's corporate identity, commissioning Franco Sargiani and Eija Helander to work on graphic design and packaging as well as the company offices at Crusinallo.
Alberto Alessi has written several books, including La Cintura di Orione (Longanesi, Milano 1986), Not in Production, Next to Production (Alessi Spa, Crusinallo 1988), and The Dream Factory (Electa, Milano 1998). During his career he has contributed articles for many international magazines and publications and been a visiting professor at several design colleges.
Alberto Alessi is a member of the Academic Board of the U.I.A.H., Helsinki and sits on the honorary committee of the Design Museum, London. He is a senior fellow of the Royal College of Art, London; honorary professor of the Hochschule der Bildenden Kunste, Saarbrucken; Doctor Honoris Causa of the U.I.A.H. of Helsinki; Doctor of Fine Arts at the Miami University of Oxford, Ohio; and, has an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Central England, Birmingham.
In 1998 he received the Design Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Question: How do you integrate research into your product line?
Alessi: Being a research lab, I am allowed to take, by definition, to take more risks in my activity. And to work more close to the borderline, the borderline which divides the area of possible from the area of not possible. Okay, the difference with a mass production company is that mass production company… They try to work as far as possible from the borderline. Instead, being an Italian design company, my role and my destiny is to work as close as possible to the borderline. By definition, I’m asked to take more risks in my industrial activity, [which] is more exciting also.
The designer invokes "the borderline" to define where he works.
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