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5 things you didn’t know about Alberto Alessi

SEP 21, 2016 | By Aditi Sharma Maheshwari
A squid-like juicer, a corkscrew with the face of a smiling girl, a kettle that whistles like a bird…for all these revolutionary homeware gems, we have Alberto to thank. When he joined the eponymous family business in 1970, he overhauled its identity by making it a “research lab in the Applied Arts”. To metamorphose ordinary kitchen tools into design icons, he collaborated with creatives like Alessandro Mendini, Ettore Sottsass and more recently, Marcel Wanders, the Campana Brothers and Philippe Starck.
When the maverick isn’t busy at work, he likes to invite guests and the press over to his private vineyard, “so that they can not only taste the wine, but also see the winemaking process.” Take a look at the daily rituals of this mastermind who balances his work and private life to perfection.
1. Mornings are dedicated to coffee and a good workout. “I wake up and drag myself to the kitchen, for a steaming cup of coffee made by Laura, my wife, prepared in my espresso coffee machine designed by Michele De Lucchi. It’s called “Pulcina” because it looks like a chicken. Right after breakfast, it’s time for a swim in my indoor pool.”
2. He has a busy work schedule. “Meetings take place throughout the day – some in my office, others at our museum. I meet with designers (we collaborate with around 300 of them along with the technical staff to work on new products) and the marketing team where we discuss communication strategies. Of course, the day isn’t complete without board meetings with my brothers Michele and Alessio, and cousin Stefano.”
3. Afternoons are spent outside. “We have two cafeterias: One for employees, the other for private lunches with guests. However, I prefer to go to Barabba, an excellent restaurant near the factory. It’s a small, simple place that the chef Toni, has built himself.”
4. Evenings are spent with family. “Laura is a superb cook and dinners often include meals with a glass of wine from our vineyard. We usually recount what happened in the day and make plans for the rest of the week or the weekend. Even though I am now internationally known for some culinary interpretations, I must confess to being just an enthusiastic amateur chef! Spending time in the kitchen helps me relax and unleash my creativity.”
5. Night is for “me” time. I own approximately 4,500 paperbacks and documents on the history of Lake Orta, Lake Maggiore and Valli dell’Ossola, an extended valley of the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola. Another hobby is to compile bibliographic sheets and then catalogue them with a software called “Book Tome”. Before going to bed, Laura and I catch a few episodes of our favourite TV series Lilyhammer, Homeland or The Walking Dead.
Also read: Our top three picks from Alessi’s new Circus collection designed by Marcel Wanders