Meeting ‘the real Alberto’ Alessi

Since the 1980s, Alessi has led the way for mainstream design culture, the stuff of glossy shelter magazines today. I was going to interview him. I could barely narrow down my questions.

With Journal Sentinel art critic Mary Louise Schumacher, who was hosting Alessi and his entourage for a video interview posted at Art City, and Amy Decker, the president of AIGA Wisconsin, we were all eager to meet this gentleman and ask him about the design world. He was engaging and warm enough to tell us a little about “the real Alberto,” as he put it. It was a colorful discussion. When asked about Alessi’s next frontier, Alberto talked about an ancient religious symbol. When asked about his preferred method for selecting designers, he told us about his gardening practice. And then there’s the secret novel he’s writing.

We talked about many other things, too: trends in handmade objects, design as culture, sustainability, architecture, women in design, and of course the big lecture tonight at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The lecture, at 6:15 p.m., is full but overflow is being set up for up to 500 extra guests. Check out Mary-Louise’s earlier post about this, in case you missed it. One of the most exciting topics was the future of Alessi. Given Alessi’s recent foray into collaborations around technology, I asked whether the company intends to become the Apple of Europe? To our great surprise, Alberto was very opinionated about this. In my next post, I will unveil what this next big design object, coming in January, will be. Anyone want to make a guess in the meantime?

This post is also being published at ArtCity, the arts blog of the Journal Sentinel. Stacey Williams-Ng is the lead contributor of the AIGA Wisconsin blog and a regular Art City contributor. Photo (c)2010 and courtesy of the Journal Sentinel.

Post by Stacey Williams-Ng

By AIGA Wisconsin
Published November 18, 2010
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