Buy: Highsnobiety Shop
Model: 3909 Kettle by Virgil Abloh Securities for Alessi
Release Date: December 5
Price: $210 (€190)
Editor's Notes: Nicknamed the "dream factory" thanks to its sexy squeezers, art museum-worthy designs, and collaborations with the likes of Salvador Dali, Alessi's latest move sees it honor its collaborator Virgil Abloh by releasing a kettle he had selected before his passing.
The Italian homeware brand previously created its "Occasional Object" with the late multi-hyphenate creative, a stainless steel cutlery set with holes in the handles which could be attached together via a carabiner. Now, it is releasing the sequel to that cutlery set.
Also arriving in silver stainless steel, the 9093 kettle is one of the most popular products in the brand's range and an important part of its history. It is, as Daniel Talens, Alessi’s CEO, says: "the Holy Grail of Alessi."
Designed by architect and designer Michael Graves in 1985, it marked the first time that the brand had employed an American designer to create a product for it.
Now, almost 40 years later, another icon of American design has provided it with an update, marking the first time that the brand has reinterpreted one of its famous designs.
Coming courtesy of Virgil Abloh Securities, a creative corporation that he founded and which is now run by his wife Shannon Abloh, and developed by the Abloh-founded studio ALASKA ALASKA, the kettle takes an approach typical of Abloh by, "referencing different frames of reference often overlooked within the established design culture," says ALASKA ALASKA.
"After discussions with Virgil Abloh about how we could work together, we understood that his wish to reinterpret some of Alessi’s icons was a challenging idea, and appropriate to the times – and that to start with the Graves kettle would be the best way," says Alessi’s President, Alberto Alessi. "This was because Virgil’s desire to create 'popular' products was similar to the dream Michael Graves had when he told me in the ’80s that his aim was 'to create a new American design'."
An important element that made the Graves' design so popular is a little bird that sits on top of it which is now switched to a basketball player who appears from the top, basketball in hand. Coming in purple, the kettle's handle also arrives in the same bright color.
A serial collaborator whose curiosity led to him designing everything from Ikea homeware to Evian bottles, Abloh's legacy not only lives on through his Off-White label or ALASKA ALASKA, the London-based design agency he founded, but also the backlog of projects he was working on which continue to be released.
There's been collaborative furniture, toy figurines, sneakers, and much more released since his passing and over a year later there are still new collaborations finally seeing the light of day, an indication of just how busy and prolific Abloh was.
As Alberto Alessi says, "Virgil had a completely different way to look at things and objects," and thanks to the work of the companies he set up, we are continuing to see his unique vision in action.