Storytelling is gluten free

King Kong, designer. Credit Alessi

If I had to give one piece of advice after the just ended Milan Design Week, it would be this: keep telling stories, people. Storytelling is low-budget (compared to other means of communication), buzz-driving (if you employ the right #) and versatile (from mini-tweets to maxi-novels). No surprize it sits on top of hot trends, just like a gluten-free muffin sells better than a regular cake.

Take Alessi, for instance. The Italian design icon opened up the Design Week with a special exhibition, Super and Popular: small masterpieces of design. The collection includes about 70 objects, sourced to represent some of maison’s most interesting projects over the last sixty years: legends like the bird whistle kettle by Michael Graves from 1985, the “alien” citrus-squeezer by Philippe Starck from 1990, and others. You might have never met them in your kitchen, but you still recognize them. Celebs are celebs after all. What Alessi did next, was let these objects tell their story.

The object and its amazing story: a new communication concept for Alessi launched by Mario Trimarchi, art director of “Super and Popular”.

La Stanza dello Scirocco by Mario Trimarchi, designer. Credit Alessi
Mario Trimarchi, designer. Credit Alessi.

La Stanza dello Scirocco by Mario Trimarchi.

La Stanza dello Scirocco by Mario Trimarchi. Credit Alessi
Credit Alessi

Mario Trimarchi, on Super and Popular: 

”Each object hides the knowledge of a company as well as the ideas of a designer. Each object embodies an elusive desire for immortality and has many little stories to tell, both ordinary and extraordinary. I designed the boxes for the SUPER AND POPULAR collection with the intention of taking this ambitious project by the hand and telling the story of a family, or should I say a “compilation” of the finest Alessi productions from recent years, those which have gone on to become tireless icons. Small exuberant notebooks in the form of cubes and rectangles, boxes in other words, which we would like to send to Mars to explain who we are when we look at our objects and how unforgettable our small stories from everyday life are”.

The packaging becomes a vehicle, a storyteller, a voice that narrates the tale of the object inside the box. Each and every piece of information on the packaging – from the faces and quotes of the designers to the product photographs – is employed in storytelling.

Philippe Starck, designer.

Philippe Starck, designer. Credit Alessi
Credit Alessi,

Juicy Salif by Philippe Starck.

Juicy Salif by Philippe Starck. Credit Alessi
Juicy Salif by Philippe Starck. Credit Alessi

Alberto Alessi, on Super and Popular products:

…just a few dozen objects (from the thousands we have marketed in our history, all of which with their own raison d’être) that perfectly represent the contribution Alessi has made to the progress of the current phase of the consumer society. I like to think of these projects as possible archaeological relics that academics will study over the next millennia: examples of an advanced industrial culture which (to paraphrase Jean Baudrillard) “tends towards the universal, towards the transcendence of new myths that could decode our time without being mythological super-productions; towards a new art form that could decipher our modernity without dissolving into it”.

Stefano Giovannoni, designer. Credit Alessi
Stefano Giovannoni, designer. Credit Alessi

Magic Bunny by Stefano Giovannoni.

Magic bunny_Stefano Giovannoni_product
Credit Alessi

Just in case you might want to save it for the future (and the archeology): #superandpopular


Words by Jurga


  1. Completely agree. Brand storytelling should be at the heart of a company’s marketing strategy in order to appeal to consumer’s emotional needs. It should be a trend that stays!

    I actually wrote a blog about the importance of storytelling for fmcg brands, specifically ‘free from’ products. You might find it interesting if you’re a champion of brand storytelling!

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