Melbourne was lucky enough to host Luca Alessi last week. He was in town to announce the winner of the 2017 Alessi Design Awards with Belle Magazine.
I also spied him at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival later in the week. It seems that, like the rest of us, he was enjoying the plethora of events that is March in Melbourne. But I digress.
Of the many entries, five finalists presented a prototype of an original design on the night. Among them was the Conch bowl, inspired by the shell of the conchiglie pasta and the Berretto, an elegant bottle opener and cap that was so graceful it could have been mistaken for a piece of jewellery.
Rene Linssen won the 2017 award with his Pearla oyster shucker. The Pearla is a hefty, weighty object, full of curves and intriguing lines. It invites you to pick it up, to weigh it in the creases where your fingers meet your palm before rolling into your palm and closing your hand around it.
I have eaten many an oyster in my life but I've never shucked one. The Pearla made me think that perhaps I might want to.
As part of his prize, Rene will fly to Italy to spend time at the Alessi headquarters.
Founded in 1921 as a small crafts workshop, the Alessi we now know came of age under the stewardship of its second generation. It moved to a model of mass production in the 50s. And in 1955 it began partnering with external designers.
Of all the non-Italian designers that Alessi has working with the brand, there are more that herald from these shores than any other country. I am also told by a little bird, that there are more designers working for Alessi from Melbourne than any other city in Australia. So hooray for us!
But mostly, hooray for Rene whose beautiful design captures the essence and simplicity of the food it was made to prepare.