The Italian brand Alessi and the Seiko Instruments Inc. have jointly produced a new collection of Alessi watches.
Watches in the collection derive their designs from the inspirations of distinguished international architects and designers of commercial and industrial products, all well known to Alessi, and SII brings those inspirations to fruition in the form of exciting new watches.
The styles and methods of each designer, and the originality of Alessi are reflected in the distinctive character of each series.
The road that led Alessi from being a small artisan concern working with metal to become the most well known "Italian design factory" in the world, has been a long one. Alessi was founded in 1921 at Omegna on Lake Orta by my grandfather Giovanni. He was a skilful metalwork turner and descendant of an ancient family of craftsmen from the Strona valley, in Northwestern Italy just a stone's throw from Switzerland. In the twenties and thirties Giovanni Alessi crafted small hand-made objects in copper, brass and nickel silver which were then plated in nickel, chrome and silver.
These objects, for the table and for the home, would later become part of the collective memory of generations of Italians.
Design, in the sense in which the word is understood today, made its début at the end of the thirties with Carlo Alessi. Trained as an industrial designer in Novara, he created most of the items in the catalogue between 1935 and 1945, the year of his final project: the "Bombé" tea and coffee service, one of the archetypes of the first era of Italian design. In the 1950s, he and his brother Ettore opened up Alessi to collaboration with external designers including Mazzeri and Vitale, creators of certain projects still in production today such as the "870" shaker of 1957.
Then, beginning in the 1970s, Alessi's identity changed radically: from a normal factory with a standard production line they gradually turned into a research laboratory in the field of the applied arts, calling on the collaboration of practically all the best talents on the international design scene. Convinced that design is one of the most typical forms of art and poetry of our times, Alessi developed the role of art mediator which has led them to work with hundreds of designers, such as Ron Arad, Mario Botta, Andrea Branzi, Achille Castiglioni, Riccardo Dalisi, D'Urbino and Lomazzi, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Stefano Giovannoni, Michael Graves, Hans Hollein, Enzo Mari, Alberto Meda, Richard Meier, Alessandro Mendini, Massimo Morozzi, Jasper Morrison, Marc Newson, Aldo Rossi, Richard Sapper, Massimo Scolari, Ettore Sottsass, Philippe Starck, Oscar Tusquets, Robert Venturi, Guido Venturini and Marco Zanuso.
With the help of these designers Alessi has become the "dream factory". No other company in the world has brought together poetry, creativity, culture, foresight, sincerity, modernism and design excellence as they have in the last quarter of the 20th century. This definition sums up their mission well and is directed towards the new public of the 21st century, for whom cultural capital takes precedence over economic capital, style is more important than status.
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