23 January 2014
There are objects that arise from a figure or a form. And others that derive from the gestures, even unseemly ones, that we sometimes make in our daily lives. For instance, raise their hands all those who have never used their finger to extract the last drops of something tasty from a jar. The Castiglioni brothers, farsighted pioneers of new approaches to design and acute observers of human uses and customs, created an apparently ordinary spoon, but one that is in reality extraordinary. One side of Sleek (1962) has exactly the same curvature as the inside of a jar and acts as an efficient spatula with which to remove the last residue of its contents. Thus the Castiglioni brothers anticipated what has become an established tendency in contemporary design, that of starting out from the action rather than from the form. Originally conceived as a promotional giveaway for a well-known brand of mayonnaise, Alessi has been producing it again for some years now in all its subtle irony.