More than 10,000 people visited WantedDesign, which wrapped up on Monday at New York’s the Tunnel. A highlight among the more than 60 exhibitors was Italian design powerhouse Alessi, which presented projects stemming from research and workshops the company has conducted in collaboration with several young designers around the world. Veteran Alessi designer Giulio Iacchetti was on hand to showcase his new “Noè” collection of wine accessories. The name is a nod to the biblical patriarch. “Noah is not just famous for building the ark, but also for his passion for wine,” says Iacchetti, who is based in Milan. “And it is said that he invented it after being the first to experiment with vine cultivation.” We popped open a bottle of bubbly—with the aid of his bottle-shaped opener—and asked him seven questions.
What was the concept for the Noè set?
The inspiring concept for these objects designed to serve and preserve wine comes by a strong formal reference to existing wine imagery, so the bottle holder refers to a cluster of grapes, the Champagne stopper recalls those corks used to hermetically seal Champagne bottles, the shape of the Champagne cork opener is inspired by the outline of a bottle, and finally, the drop-stop ring is truly the engagement between us and wine!
What has distinguished your collaborations with Alessi from those with other companies?
When I think of Italian design and design companies, I think immediately of Alessi. Alessi could be really considered the “dream factory”—as Alberto Alessi defined his company years ago—for its exceptional capability to combine real industrial productivity with the openness to collect in its catalog many different products categories. Every time I go to Crusinallo [Alessi headquarters], I personally live a life-long dream.
Has anything surprised you about the reaction to your designs for Alessi?
Yes, and it happened just last week. The owner of a French Alessi dealer wrote me through Facebook to say how proud he was to display the Noè collection in his shop window!
What is your favorite Alessi product (designed by someone other than yourself) and why?
I would say the funnel Pino (pictured), designed by Stefano Giovannoni and Miriam Mirri. In my opinion, Pino is the perfect mix of values that I always try to introduce in my design: the symbolic power—in this case the reference to Pinocchio—and the function: the nose of Pinocchio perfectly works as a funnel! I think that this kind of irony is one of the typical features of “Italian design,” such as the works of the masters like Achille Castiglioni and Bruno Munari.
What is a form/product that you are eager to work on but have not yet had the opportunity?
There are many objects I would design among all there are musical instruments: an electric guitar and an electric bass.
What has been your proudest design moment?
The first time I saw in a shop an object designed by me!
What is the best creative or professional advice you ever received?
Osservare a lungo, capire profondamente, fare in un attimo! by Bruno Munari. (Take a long and careful look, deeply understand, act fast!)