Art is the universe in which Alessi’s research-based approach to design was developed. The investigation into the art world began in the early 1970s with Alessi d’après, an ambitiously experimental project that resulted in a collection of sculptures produced in unlimited series. Of all the pieces created, Salvador Dalí’s was the only one not put into production. The Alessi d’après project was suspended after about three years, and after the creation of the first five multiples. It was met with enthusiasm from the public, and the complexity of its manufacturing was monopolizing the mechanical workshop, leading to delays in Alessi’s own production.
The project was nonetheless foundational, laying the theoretical groundwork for the company's subsequent practice. By reintroducing Salvador Dali's project today, Alessi is once again expressing that continuum, the aesthetic unity between objects and works of art, that has been the distinctive feature of the last fifty years of research at Alessi.
Hence, our contact with Salvador Dalí.
In the spring of 1973 Dalí showed Alberto Alessi his first prototype for this project in Port Lligat, in his snow-white villa on its beautiful harbor-side location. The title of the work was "Obget inutile, vase, sur un problème de topologie négative". A falling angel with a crutch, with illegible writing and a series of geometric technique diagrams at the bottom. The stainless steel sheet has been brutally wrapped around itself and is held together by two clothespins, the old-fashioned wooden kind. Also held by the clothespins is a huge golden comb, and each tooth of the comb has a large stainless steel hook welded to it, the kind used for salmon fishing. The hooks come in two sizes; the larger ones welded to the large teeth of the comb and the smaller ones welded to the small teeth. Two factors came between Alberto's will and the actual realization of "Obget inutile". One of these was the firm opinion of his uncle, head of the technical office, on the reproducibility of the work. The other was the sad realization, which became progressively clearer and clearer, that reproductions, though loaded with utopian optimism, were really of no interest to the "market". In sum, the public had no desire to buy those beautiful reproductions freed from the idea of rarity.It seems nice to look back to that first initiative which, over half a century ago, suggested Alessi’s experimental future.
THE ALESSI D'APRES PROJECT (1971-1977)
Under the trade-mark ‘Alessi d’après’, multiples are manufactured and distributed in unlimited editions. Its purpose is to offer a collection of European and, in particular, Italian “consolidated” sculptures, which have had their apogee between the sixties and the seventies.
Alessi d'après between 1971 and 1973 presented "Guscio n° 1" by Giò Pomodoro (2), "Forma orizzontale circolare" by Carmelo Cappello (3), "Multimodel-X" by Dušan Džamonja (4), "Girevole" by Pietro Consagra (5) and "Narciso" by Andrea Cascella (6).