Entirely handmade in Italy, Steelo is born by the idea “to extract the beauty out from the function”. A philosophy that defines all Mario Alessiani research. Designed for the Italian brand Officine Tamborrino, Steelo is a chair that is the perfect match between functionality and aesthetics: light, resistant, stackable and affordable. The skeleton is made of thin metal rods with a folden metal shell of a minimum thickness, in order to have a light, but a strong chair. An object that is apparently simple, in reality, the result of a long research, with the goal to optimize the production process, to reduce the manufacturing costs and bring to the market a high-quality, versatile chair for everyone. Every aesthetic element has a specific function, like the slots at the corners, needed to make the seat folding, carefully designed in its dimensions and shape, so much to become a decorative element, a hallmark of the object.

Functional beauty is the main idea that drives Mario Alessiani – a 29 years old Italian designer that lives and works in Teramo, where he founded his homonymous studio in 2013 – and its creations: “A chair is a chair and a table is a table. Despite the many efforts that a designer can make to produce models and versions that are more and more beautiful and iconic, the use we make of certain pieces does not change and will not change over time. For this reason, I think that a contemporary designer should work to extract the aesthetic of furniture from its function and not vice-versa. Enzo Mari in this sense is a perfect example for me.

Artisanship has a central role: “The very idea of the furniture to be designed takes shape with the continuous dialogue with the workers, taking full advantage of their professionalism, the properties of the materials and the techniques for working them. I believe in design as a tool to emphasize the characteristics of the material, the interactivity with things and technology through the shape” says Mario. Craftsmanship and industry coexist in symbiosis in the millennial design, which aims to enhance the potential of one and the other through sustainable projects from the productive and economic point of view: “The task of the new generation of creatives is to be able to interpret the manufacturing capacities of small and new realities that seek to make space in a difficult, often ruthless context. The only way to do this is to find in every project the balance between quality, cost and beauty without being engulfed by the design ego. Having thirty years in Italy today and working as a designer in 2018 also means having this concept clear and working to show it.“Mario Alessiani is BA in product design at IED Rome in 2011, he worked in London for an international designer like Jake Phipps. He teaches design method for IED Rome at Sichuan Normal University in China. He is 29, and already with a long experience behind it, Alessiani is the perfect example to understand how a millennial works and proposes to the world of design. He is one of those born during the 80’s that are revolutionizing consumption related to home, fashion, leisure.

photos Marco Di Marcantonio