Probably by now you've heard that IKEA is discontinuing its line of Expedit bookshelves, much to the chagrin of vinyl enthusiasts and the closet-less. If the Swedish furniture giant will slay one its most popular icons, anything could be next! That, and the fact that IKEA products tend to compost themselves before your very eyes, means now is a good time to look elsewhere for stylish home design, and the San Francisco Alessi shop on Sutter Street near Union Square is a grand place to begin.
The century-old Northern Italian company, known for its stainless steel cookware and brilliant combination of industrial processes like laser-cutting with hand-applied accents, has a terrific new collection for Spring 2014. Sleek and sophisticated, Alessi balances functionality with playfulness to unique effect.
Joy by Claudia Raimondo is surprisingly lightweight line of stainless steel bowls (in gold, silver, charcoal, and white) that adds pizzazz to fruit from the farmers market. The gold catches the light beautifully, although it does look slightly like the sinister sphere in Sphere. Naoto Fukusaka's teapot-and-kettle tuck their ergonomics away in sensuous curves, designed for any stove or hot surface. Michele de Lucchi's Quattro Muri e Due Case ("four walls and two houses") turns a breakfast tray into a simple landscape inspired by the simplicity of home, and the Noe ("NO-ay") line of modular wine racks by Giulio Iacchetti isn't just pleasingly minimal, it's also big enough to hold most champagne bottles.
Even better, to make room for these new bijoux of household design, Alessi's marked down much of its previous collection, sometimes drastically (75 percent or more). You know how January is a great month to buy deadstock winter gear stores couldn't unload for the holidays? Late February is like that, but for kitchen improvements. It's an investment; Alessi is part of the permanent collection of more museums than any other modern design firm.
Alessi, 424 Sutter, 434-0403