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Brixen, September 15, 2006 Alessi : Family Follows Fiction
© Roberto Verganti, Claudio DellEra – Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale, Politecnico di Milano Agenda Company overview Open innovation process Process structure Centro Studi Alessi: gatekeeper Importance of external designers A breakthrough innovation: Family Follows Fiction Concept Actor Network theory (ANT) Application of the ANT
© Roberto Verganti, Claudio DellEra – Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale, Politecnico di Milano Company history In 1921 Giovanni Alessi bought a plot of land at Omegna and founded Alessi The company started to develop a design style of its own only during the thirties, when Carlo Alessi joined the company In the early seventies Alberto Alessi, Carlos son, started since the beginning of his career in Alessi to deal with new-products development, marketing and communication In subsequent years several other designers started to collaborate with Alessi: Coppola, Grignani, Tovaglia, Confalonieri, Sottsass, Sapper, Rossi, Castiglioni, Mari, Starck, Graves, etc. The end of the nineties marks Alessi's last evolution. The "dream factory" has become a research laboratory in the field of applied arts
© Roberto Verganti, Claudio DellEra – Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale, Politecnico di Milano Economic figures Nowadays the company employs about 500 people, who are directly involved in project development, production, sales and distribution Turnover around 100 million euro Alessi is exporting the 65% of its turnover to over 60 countries 5000 points of sale, 14 Alessi stores (Showroom and Flagship), 175 Shop in shop Alessi headquarters bears the mark of the Atelier Mendini The Alessi company has recently obtained an exclusive concession by Fiera Milano, an entire pavilion inside the exhibition centre
© Roberto Verganti, Claudio DellEra – Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale, Politecnico di Milano Open innovation process Process fundamentally based on creativity and on long-lasting strict personal relationships between Alessi and its external designers Homogeneous set of organizational routines through which each new project is conceived, evaluated and its essential design philosophy maintained Metaproject -> Brief Workshop -> Evaluation & Desiderata Engineering META-PROJECT Knowledge about socio- cultural trends Brief CONTINUOUS RESEARCH WORKSHOP Evaluation & Desiderata ENGINEERING
© Roberto Verganti, Claudio DellEra – Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale, Politecnico di Milano Centro Studi Alessi: the gatekeeper Centro Studi Alessi (CSA) was conceived at the end of the 80s from an idea of Alberto Alessi, Alessandro Mendini and Laura Polinoro CSA pursued the need to experiment new ways and methodology to design in order to work with young designers with a fresh approach
© Roberto Verganti, Claudio DellEra – Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale, Politecnico di Milano Centro Studi Alessi: the gatekeeper Research provides theoretical foundations for the elaboration of the concept on which the metaproject will be based The Metaproject defines the typologies of objects to design, collects the company's needs, and gives the esthetical criteria as well as the cultural and visual stimuli to the designers Through the Workshop the metaproject is elaborated and ideas exchanged with the selected designers and the technical team of Alessi The first two operations - metaprojects conceptualized and coordinated by Laura Polinoro for CSA were: " Memory Containers " and " Family Follows Fiction - FFF "
© Roberto Verganti, Claudio DellEra – Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale, Politecnico di Milano Importance of external designers NameCountry of OriginBorn1st Alessi collaboration Ettore SottsassItaly Alessandro MendiniItaly Richard SapperGermany Aldo RossiItaly1931 (deceased 1997)1980 Achille CastiglioniItaly1918 (deceased 2002)1982 Micheal GravesUnited States Stefano GiovannoniItaly Philippe StarckFrance Guido VenturiniItaly Enzo MariItaly Frank GehryCanada Marco ZanusoItaly George SowdenUnited Kingdom Ron AradIsrael Sir Norman FosterUnited Kingdom Jasper MorrisonUnited Kingdom Marc NewsonAustralia Alessis Maestros, in 2003 Alessi listed, among others, the following designers in its catalogue and on its website (Moon Y, Dessain V and Sjöman A. Alessi: Evolution of an Italian Design Factory (B). Harvard Business School, 2004)
© Roberto Verganti, Claudio DellEra – Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale, Politecnico di Milano Family Follows Fiction Alessi stimulated a group of designers to explore the creative potential of plastics, that they had not probably considered designing for Alessi in the past, due to the companys focus on steel products and technologies Products that satisfied user experiences such as, the need for tenderness, delicacy and intimacy. They felt the need to shake off their parameters
© Roberto Verganti, Claudio DellEra – Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale, Politecnico di Milano Actor Network Theory (ANT) Sociology (80s) Principal references Callon M, Law J and Rip A (1986). Mapping the Dynamics of Science and Technology: Sociology of Science in the Real World, Macmillan Press, London. Latour B (1986). Visualization and Cognition: Thinking with Eyes and Hands, in Knowledge and Society: Studies in Sociology of Culture Past and Present, 6, pp Latour B (1987). Science in Action, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press. Bijker W.E., Law J., Shaping Technology/ Building Society. Studies in Sociotechnical Change, Cambridge, Massachusetts/ London, England: The MIT Press, pp Principal concepts Actant (human and not human) Network Meaning
© Roberto Verganti, Claudio DellEra – Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale, Politecnico di Milano Fonte: Tesi di laurea Actor Network Theory: un nuovo approccio per lanalisi di innovazioni design driven. Applicazione ai casi di Alessi, Apple e Kartell di Erica Loviso
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