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Design in everything: exploring the Alessi Kettle's extraordinary interpretations

In 1985, architect Michael Graves embarked on a historic collaboration with Alessi, resulting in one of the most iconic and best-selling designs in the brand's collection: the 9093 kettle. Blending Art Deco and Pop Art elements, its playful light blue handle and distinctive bird-shaped whistle, which sings as the water reaches boiling point, transformed this everyday item into a standout piece, turning the spotlight on kitchen products typically defined by mere functionality. Graves' piece transcends the ordinary to establish itself as a symbol of the postmodern 1980s—a testament to boundless creativity, reinforcing the idea that design permeates everything.

Alessi 9093
Alessi Macinapepe 9098
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Alessi Zuccheriera
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Alessi Cremierina
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More recently, in a collaboration with Virgil Abloh, Alessi reissued Michael Graves' kettle, reinterpreting this iconic object. Before his untimely passing, Abloh designed the 3909 kettle, cleverly inverting the original's digits to bring its pop sensibility into the modern era. In Virgil Abloh's limited edition, the whimsical bird is replaced by a purple basketball player figurine jumping to dunk the ball.

3909 Alessi
Alessi 3909

Before Virgil Abloh's reinterpretation, Michael Graves revisited his iconic kettle on its 30th anniversary, introducing the Tea Rex version. This design replaces the original bird-shaped whistle with a dragon, a mythological symbol of strength and luck in Chinese culture. This thoughtful detail enriches the kettle with additional cultural significance and enhances its stylistic depth, further cementing its status as an iconic object.

Alessi 9090

In 1983, two years before Michael Graves’ iconic design, Richard Sapper introduced the 9091 kettle, crafted to evoke the romantic sound of boat sirens on the Rhine River. The brass whistle, adorning the kettle’s rounded body, incorporates two small reeds fitted with choristers to melodically sound the notes E and B, creating a multi-sensory experience that blends distinctive aesthetics with delightful auditory charm.

Il Conico
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Il Conico, another kettle designed by Aldo Rossi, stands out for its architectural elegance. Crafted from 18/10 stainless steel, this kettle embodies geometric precision, offering a minimalist and impeccably stylish design that leaves little to the imagination. Both Il Conico and its companion piece, La Conica—a coffee maker—exemplify Rossi’s talent for merging rigorous architectural principles with poetic expression in everyday objects

Alessi Conico
Pito Alessi
Alessi Pito

Drawing inspiration from sea creatures, Frank Gehry's Pito kettle is a vivid expression of artistic creativity. Its rounded stainless steel body is enhanced by two mahogany elements—the handle and whistle—representing stylized fish. Upon reaching boiling point, the object mimics the gentle sound of a whale’s song.

With its rounded design, the name and shape of Achille Castiglioni’s 1995 Bulbul kettle whimsically evoke a curling stone, while its handle encourages playful interaction, almost inviting users to slide the kettle across the countertop. This element showcases Castiglioni’s exceptional ability to draw inspiration from a diverse range of everyday objects, infusing them with a unique blend of irony and creativity while enhancing their qualities.

Bulbul Alessi
Plissè Electric Kettel
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Alessi Plissé Collection
Alessi Plissé
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Alessi Plissè
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Alessi Plissé
AlessiPlissé Shop online

A more recent yet equally iconic addition to the Alessi collection is Michele De Lucchi’s Plissé electric kettle. Drawing inspiration from 1950s and 1960s women’s fashion, this kettle belongs to a broader family of kitchen utensils sharing a distinctive pleated design. This unique detail adds versatile and sculptural elegance to the object, making it a perfect statement piece in both function and style.

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