Monday, March 28, 2011

Italians Insist: Even Everyday Objects Must Be 'Bella!'

In his book That Fine Italian Hand author Paul Hofmann has observed that Italy  "must be taken on the Italians' own terms. It is essentially the product of a smiling nature and the keen minds and skilled hands of the Italians who . . . created an artistic patrimony without paragon on earth."
Hoffman further extols "the multiform tactile skills of the Italians. their versatility and mastery in shaping, carving, crafting, refining, drawing, styling, painting, and lettering."
Nowhere is the artistry and heritage of the fine Italian hand more evident than at the exhibit Aessi: Ethical and Radical at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through April 10.
Alessi: Ethical and Radical presents Alberto Alessi’s achievements since the 1970s in producing functional designs of exceptional quality by collaborating with leading architects and designers, including Ron Arad, the Campana Brothers, Achille Castiglioni, Michael Graves, Greg Lynn, Alessandro Mendini, Ettore Sottsass, Philippe Starck, and Robert Venturi. Different from any other modern manufacturer, Alessi has offered its collaborators absolute creative freedom and technical support in a series of radical, experimental projects, whether or not the results could ever be brought to production. Alessi: Ethical and Radical includes objects, drawings, videos, and photographs that demonstrate the company’s unique approach to design and unique way of working with its designers.
Alessi is widely regarded as the world’s most innovative and influential manufacturer of household objects that blur the boundaries between industry and art. The family-owned and operated company was founded in 1921 by Giovanni Alessi near Lake Orta in the foothills of the Italian Alps, an area known for highly developed craft traditions in wood and metal. In the 1950s, under the leadership of Carlo Alessi, Giovanni’s son, the company began to commission products from outside designers, and it was through this strategy that Carlo’s eldest son, Alberto Alessi, brought the company to the forefront of international design.
Remember: This wonderful exhibition runs through April 10 only.
We urge you to rush over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the wonders of that fine Italian hand via Alessi before this show closes. You will not be disappointed!
Photos copyright 2010 by Dan Cirucci.

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