What do customers come in looking for?
The Michael Graves bird kettle—the silver, triangular kettle with a bird for the whistle. The one that’s been around for twenty-odd years. That’s been our No. 1–selling item. It’s really eye-catching. Just one of those things that people love.
Who is the hot new designer working with Alessi nowadays?
Our Zaha Hadid vase called the Crevasse has been very hot. Also Peter Zumthor, the architect, has some really lovely wood pepper mills.
Do you have a 2007 favorite?
You bet. There’s a new toaster out by Stefano Giovannoni. If a kitchen appliance can be sexy, this is it. It’s really slim; it’s stainless steel. There’s a rack you can buy that goes on top of the toaster, and you can warm up a croissant or you can do paninis with it. It smooshes the sandwich down and heats it up. Your imagination can run wild in terms of sandwich options. It’s great for New York City kitchens because it takes up no space.
Stainless steel is a signature Alessi material. How do you keep it so shiny?
In the store, we use, for daily cleaning, a little bit of Windex and ripped-up T-shirt material. All stainless-steel items are prone to getting water spots—if you leave them in the dishwasher, and they are not dried completely, you will get spots. There are products that you can buy to get these off, but I would say keep them dry.