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Italianita and Internationalism: production, design and mediation at Alessi 1976-96

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-57
JournalModern Italy
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2002


This article considers the Italian household product design company Alessi
as quintessentiall y Italian and international . The interplay of mass-production
and craft techniques at Alessi, an extended design process and the
presentation of the family in company publicity exemplify the ambiguities
identiŽ ed within Italian design. The extent to which Alessi typiŽ es Italian
post-war design is questioned with reference to the company’s international
design team and the marketing of its products to foreign consumers
as manifestations of italianita`. The Ž ndings are based on primary
research in Milan and the Alessi factory, including a series of interviews
with designers, retailers, curators and media workers, combined with
secondary material centred upon design history.


Grace Lees-Maffei, ‘Italianita and internationalism: production, design and mediation at Alessi, 1976–96’, Modern Italy, Vol 7(1):37-57, 2002. The final publication is available at DOI: © 2002 Association for the Study of Modern Italy.

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