Alessi Trays: Serving Your Guests, Italian Style

Photo: Alessi, The Foix

Created by master Italian craftsmen, these stainless steel designs will add some shine to your dinner parties.

The Italians are famous for their food, culture, fashion and art. Meanwhile, Seattleites are distinguished by their affection for happy hours – though we do enjoy eating and imbibing at home, on occasion. Next time you are serving your guests antipasti with a bottle of Barolo, make sure the Italian style shines – even as that last brushetta is pulled from the plate.

Alessi knows a little about the styles of the Old Country; since it was founded 90 years ago, this kitchenware designer has been headquartered in Crusinallo, a small villa situated among the foothills of the Italian Alps. One of their latest contributions is a series of exquisite stainless steel trays, which have been crafted by skilled artisans to ensure an everlasting shimmer. Alessi is dedicated to creatively transforming everyday “tools” into unique, practical and intriguing works of art – and these beautiful platters are no exception.

Photo: Alessi, The Campidoglio

Designed by architecture student Robert Venturi, the Campidoglio is an homage to the artist Michelangelo. This rounded tray was inspired by Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome, a project of the legendary sculptor that currently houses the headquarters of the Italian government. The decorative aspects of this item were created by the careful research of Alessi engineers, as well as the mechanical process of incision on steel. As the red wine is poured, feel free to admire this tray’s craftsmanship  as you discuss il promiscuo actions of Prime Minister Berlusconi.

Photo: Alessi, The Foix

Also striking is the Foix, a creation from the clever mind of artist Clotet Lluis. An architect by trade, Lluis was supposedly fascinated with recreating the effect of crumpled paper in his round tray design. The sides of the tray are “crumpled” by using the technique of cold-pressing in a single operation, giving the tray a unique textured surface. The result is highly irregular, but manages to be an artistic achievement, as well.

Photo: Alessi, La stanza dello Scirocco

If the first two models are inventive takes on the common circular tray, then La Stanza Dello Scirocco is just Alessi designers showing off their skills. Inspired but the southern traditions of Italy, this 7-sided rectangular tray by Mario Trimarchi carries a distinction beyond the abstractly designed handles. Translated, its name means a “room in large Sicilian homes where one is forced to seek shelter from the sultriness while waiting for the sirocco (a dusty Mediterranean wind) to die down… In which you ponder the wind that is undoing all sublunary things outside.” So as you and your guests are sipping on the digestif, it may be apropos to discuss the Seattle rain, and the manner in which it washes away winter to welcome the spring.