Fiascos and the verge of the impossible

July 15th, 2014

I always thought Alessi were a pretty grotesque design company, making expensive objects that bastardise functionality and beauty. The classic: Starck’s Juicy Salif, an orange squeezer that appears to reinvent the way we extract juice from citrus fruit with elegance and simplicity, and which makes a whole fucking mess of it. And what’s this? Here I am beguiled by founder Alberto Alessi in a new interview with The Guardian. He calls Alessi customers ‘design victims’ (“Design victims are very important to our business model”) and calls another Starck project, the Hot Bertaa kettle, “a complete fiasco”, going on to say something amazing:

It’s very important to work on the verge of the impossible, without veering into products that people will not understand or buy. We must have one or two fiascos a year to retain our leadership in design.

Maybe that’s a pretty amazing attitude to have.