Since 1921, when Giovanni Alessi and his brother established a workshop to create tableware and household objects, the name ALESSI has defined standards of craftsmanship and elegance. Alessi represents not only the finest in Italian design, but is also the benchmark for global design excellence.
Today we speak with Paolo Cravedi, managing director, Alessi U.S. Based in Alessi’s New York headquarters, Cravedi oversees the sales and marketing operations within the United States and Canada. He is also responsible for the strategy to impact the growth of the company and has successfully opened new sales channels for the brand. A native of Italy, he served as managing director for Kartell U.S. where he was responsible for sales in the United States and Canada. Earlier he spent 10 years as managing director of De’Longhi America.
Paolo, where do you find inspiration when designing new products? Can you point to some specific influences?
Actually, Alessi works with many designers and their inspiration comes from many places. Occasionally, we do present a brief when we see a need in the marketplace. But, of course, the maestros of design from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s provide us with a lot of inspiration. And, since we work with many designers, it is what influences them that counts!
How do you choose which idea to take to the next step — to product development?
Alessi uses a proprietary tool, developed from decades of experience, called the Formula of Success. It evaluates a concept with reference to four criteria: function, price, communication/language, SMI (Sensoriality/Memory/Imaginary). But of course, Alberto Alessi’s sensibility and willingness to take risks have a big role in the final decision to bring a concept to production.
How do you identify the key user audience for your products?
Alessi knows its audience quite well. Our key audience has a great appreciation for design. They are also passionate about entertaining, cooking, and their lifestyle in general.
Is there an approach or look that joins the functionality, form or emotional appeal of your product line?
Alessi works with more than 300 designers, from all over the world and from many different disciplines: architecture, product design, graphic design and so on. They bring their own inspiration and distinctive language, and this keeps our catalog always fresh and relevant, unexpected and open to new influences. More than a single look, the thread that links together our objects is their ability to create a unique emotional connection with the consumer.
How do new technologies influence your product design? How do you use social media?
Our manufacturing spans the course of progressive technology and hand craftsmanship. A visit to our factory says it all! Social media has enabled us to reach a new and younger audience globally.
Where are your products manufactured?
The stainless steel is made in our factory in Omegna, Italy on Lago Maggiore. Other materials for products are made in the country which can provide the quality materials and the best manufacturing source for us.
How do you see design’s importance in our industry as it moves forward?
It is critical. More people are aware of how design can function well while being pleasing to the eye. Design is defining. As the public becomes more educated about design, through the media and organizations like Be Original Americas, innovation will be key in design and its production.
Can you give us a preview of what you will be showing in your booth in Discover Design?
Our Spring Summer collection will introduce many new designs and new collections. We are particularly excited by a new collaboration with the star chef Guy Savoy.
Tell us about your previous experience with Discover Design and how our Show helped build your relationships with buyers and media.
Discover Design has introduced Alessi to a new market of retailers who are more involved with food, wine and entertaining.
Thank you, Paolo, for pulling back the curtain on how design happens at Alessi and for giving us this glimpse of your offerings in March. We look forward to seeing your latest beautiful products in your booth N7908 in the Discover Design Expo in the North Building, a few steps from the Grand Concourse.
Learn more about Alessi by visiting www.alessi.com
Discover Design Grows and Moves
Discover Design is the premier destination at the International Home + Housewares Show for trend spotters who make design their priority. Now in its sixth year, Discover Design is a key attraction for fashion-forward buyers and a supportive community for design-driven exhibitors. Nearly 200 design leaders and brands will present their products in all Show categories to delight retailers looking for the unique. And in 2016 it will be even easier to discover design—as the Discover Design Expo will be located at the front of the North Building, set beside well-known, design-focused exhibitors such as Umbra, Design Ideas and Casabella.
Anchored by brands such as Alessi, Nambe and Joseph Joseph, Discover Design welcomes new exhibitors, including Chilewich/Sultan LLC and Cookut, and introduces 10 emerging companies in the Design Debut incubator. Additional fresh offerings from veteran design-focused exhibitors such as Dreamfarm, Koziol and Three by Three will also inspire your choices for the coming year.
Get acquainted with the people behind the stylish products that will appear at the 2016 International Home + Housewares Show in Discover Design. We’ll be posting conversations with exhibitors to give you a glimpse of the inspirations, influences and ideas that go into creating the exciting products that you’ll see in March in Chicago.
Learn more about Discover Design exhibitors here.