For nearly 24 years the Alessi showroom in Milan on Corso Matteotti, designed by Ettore Sottsass and later adapted to the new display requirements by Atelier Mendini, has represented a key address in the pantheon of Italian design, just a short stroll from the start of Via Montenapoleone.
On 9 June 2011, in the year that celebrates the ninetieth anniversary of the Crusinallo-based company, Alessi is opening a new, colourful flagship store designed by Marti Guixe. It is thus moving from Corso Matteotti to 14-16 Via Manzoni at the other end of Via Montenapoleone.
The happy coincidence of vision between Alberto Alessi and Marti Guixe, led the company to entrust the Catalan designer with the job of designing what will for many years be the main interface between Alessi and its public. This follows their successful collaborations for the Shop Museum in Paris in 2008 and the major recent adventure of their exhibition at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan.
"I thought that Marti was the ideal person to provide a setting for Alessi's increasingly complex catalogues," said Alberto Alessi. "A setting that would be refined as befits our role a manufacturer of Italian design, but also relaxed and certainly not dull and self-important."
The floor decoration, interweaving red diagonals on a grey background define the one hundred and seventy square metre space, which is divided into four separate sections, Set, Museum, Shop and Wunderkammer that will host the new collections, curiosities, the most important items, historical pieces, tips and many other ideas arising in the diverse world of the Alessi dream factory.
Precise volumes in shades of glossy red, small white cantilevered shelves, corporate furnishings used in an abnormal way, decorated pillars, ceramic columns, and glass museum cases welcome and accompany articles from the vast Alessi Encyclopaedia for the wonder of visitors. The different lighting systems specially designed by Guixe for this space and produced by Danese, add magic and wonder with their use of shadows and flashes of colour.