Alberto Alessi, the International Friend of Habitare in 2019: Finnish and Italian design are complete opposites, and therefore well matched

Alberto Alessi, the International Friend of Habitare in 2019: Finnish and Italian design are complete opposites, and therefore well matched

Alberto Alessi, the president of the renowned Italian design company Alessi, is the International Friend of Habitare in 2019. Alessi, who has a long-time relationship with Finnish design, will pick the most interesting content featured at Habitare and will hold a keynote speech on Wednesday 11 September 2019. Habitare will be open at Messukeskus in Helsinki from 11 to 15 September 2019.

Founded in 1921 in Italy, Alessi is one of the world’s most famous design companies. Alessi’s product range of more than one thousand items includes many household objects, such as tableware and kitchenware, many of which have achieved an iconic status in the field of contemporary design. Over the years, more than three hundred designers, including many Finns, have designed products for Alessi.

“We estimate the potential success of Alessi products using four parameters: function; senses, memory and imagination; communication and language; and price. The highest possible score is 20 points, and the highest score ever received by an Alessi product is 18 points. This is a score that tells us that a product will sell one hundred thousand units a year”, says Alberto Alessi.


A long history with Finnish design

Alessi will come to Habitare to choose the most interesting content on show, and to meet his friends in Finnish design.

“I made my first business trip abroad in 1970 when I came to Finland to check out Finnish design. By that time, Finland had become a major player in the world of design, and the Italian architect Franco Sargiani and the Finnish graphic designer Eija Helander were the first designers I worked with. Over the decades, I have worked with a number of Finnish designers, and, in the 1990s, I even taught at what is today the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture”, says Alessi, describing his relationship with Finland.

Alessi is also interested in Finnish cuisine, and he comes to Helsinki looking forward to visiting one of his favourite restaurants.

“I’m happy to come to Finland also because Savoy is one of my favourite restaurants in the world”, he says.


Finnish and Italian designers at the opposite ends of the spectrum

Alessi, who has, for a long time, worked with both Italian and Finnish designers, sees major differences between their respective approaches.

“Finnish designers are very interested in function, while Italians are interested in poetry and emotion. It is obvious from these starting points that the products that each group designs will be very different. However, I like the fact that there is a variety of different styles and idioms in the Alessi collection”, Alessi says.

Italian designers often interpret design to be a new form of poetry and art. The design idiom is unique, and you cannot find comparable ideas anywhere else.

“Sometimes, they may be less interested in the functional side of products, and they may not be thinking about the cost of manufacture. Some designers, on the other hand, are very practical, such as Jasper Morrison and Harri Koskinen. In this case, the role of a company such as Alessi is to bring a little madness into play. Otherwise we would be a Finnish company”, Alessi adds.


More information about Habitare and interview requests with Alberto Alessi:

Messukeskus, communications manager Eva Kiviranta, tel. +358 40 7756609,



Founded in 1921, the Alessi design company specialises in household objects, such as kitchenware, cookware, interior design products and light fittings. Many of Alessi’s thousands of products have achieved an iconic status in the field of contemporary design. Alessi’s mission is to explore advanced cultural, aesthetic and functional ideas and translate these into mass-producible products. Alessi’s cold-rolled stainless-steel products are manufactured at the company’s factory in Crusinallo, Italy. Alessi’s products are sold at 10 brand shops and 200 shops-in-shops all over the world. Alessi’s products are exported to more than 60 countries, and two-thirds of the company’s revenue comes from exports. Under Alberto Alessi’s management in the 1980s, Alessi branched out into new materials and technologies, including manufacturing clocks and bathroom furniture. The most famous Alessi products include the “370” steel wire fruit basket; the “La conica” espresso maker by Aldo Rossi; the “9093” whistling tea kettle by Michael Graves; the “Juicy Salif” citrus squeezer by Philippe Starck; and the “Anna G” corkscrew by Alessandro Mendini.



Habitare, the largest furniture, design and interior decoration event in Finland, will be held at Messukeskus in Helsinki, from 11 to 15 September 2019.  Habitare offers experiences and ideas on interior decoration, and on the functioning and look of homes and other spaces. Habitare highlights the ideas and works by a new generation of designers, and sparks discussion. To be held concurrently with Habitare are HiFi and the Habitare Pro professionals event. | | @HabitareFair | | #habitare2019