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Alessi: Family Follows Fiction

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1 Alessi: Family Follows Fiction
Brixen, September 15, 2006

2 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

3 The corkscrew Anna G., the bottle opener Diabolix, the eggcup Cico and the famous lemon squeezer Juicy Salif designed by Philippe Starck for Alessi.

4 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, Carlo’s 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

5 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”

6 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 CONTINUOUS RESEARCH META-PROJECT WORKSHOP ENGINEERING Evaluation & Desiderata Knowledge about socio-cultural trends Brief

7 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

8 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" Il processo è strutturato in modo da poter captare dall’esterno stimoli e conoscenza Sottolinerare Workshop come momento di integrazione/condivisione/sviluppo CSA come gatekeeper Conoscenza arriva dall’esterno

9 Importance of external designers
Name Country of Origin Born 1st Alessi collaboration Ettore Sottsass Italy 1917 1976 Alessandro Mendini 1931 1977 Richard Sapper Germany 1932 1979 Aldo Rossi 1931 (deceased 1997) 1980 Achille Castiglioni 1918 (deceased 2002) 1982 Micheal Graves United States 1934 1985 Stefano Giovannoni 1954 1986 Philippe Starck France 1949 Guido Venturini 1957 Enzo Mari 1989 Frank Gehry Canada 1929 1992 Marco Zanuso 1916 1995 George Sowden United Kingdom 1942 1997 Ron Arad Israel 1951 1998 Sir Norman Foster 1935 Jasper Morrison 1959 Marc Newson Australia 1963 1999 Alessi’s 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)

10 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 company’s 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

11 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

12 Fonte: Tesi di laurea “Actor Network Theory: un nuovo approccio per l’analisi di innovazioni design driven. Applicazione ai casi di Alessi, Apple e Kartell” di Erica Loviso

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