Alessi Design meets the Alba White Truffle
After the UT0244 designed by Ettore Sottsass in 1991, the typology of Truffle Slicer returns to the AlessiEncyclopaedia in a futuristic new guise envisaged by Ben van Berkel. The opportunity to rethink this elite utensil, used in kitchens as far back as the 1700s, emerged out of a partnership between Alessi, The National Centre for Truffle Studies and the International White Truffle Fair of Alba. This combination of expertise brings together the uniqueness of a local product, the white truffle of Alba, with the most advanced design technology in a single object.
Ben van Berkel’s “Alba” project is the end product of the “De Truffle” workshop that, launched in 2015 and developed over a two-year period, involved the participation of 15 designers. In addition to Ben van Berkel/UNStudio these included: Sakura Adachi, Will Alsop and Federico Grazzini, Michel Boucquillon, Gabriele Chiave, Odile Decq, Michele De Lucchi, Monica Förster, Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas, Anna and Gian Franco Gasparini, Martí Guixé, Giulio Iacchetti, Piero Lissoni, Valerio Sommella, Patricia Urquiola.
The “Alba” Truffle Slicer (the name is a tribute to the land of the truffle) celebrates the act of serving truffle with an accessory in which the beauty and power of design is combined with the functionality of the sculpted form. The twisted steel evokes the intertwining roots of the trees where truffles grow and develop in symbiosis with the plant. The curved profile emphasises the ergonomics of the grip, which optimises the distribution of the various weights to produce
the perfect slice. The 18° angle between the grip and the blade reduces pressure on the wrist when using the slicer. An adjustment mechanism allows the user to vary the thickness of the truffle slices from 0 to 3 millimetres. The designer gives the user the possibility of completely closing the blade so the utensil can be stored away safely after use. “Alba” is a tabletop microsculpture that offers a new aesthetic, for a convivial experience that modernises an age-old culinary ritual.
“Alba was inspired by intertwining tree roots and the knottiness of tubers. Extensive consideration was given to finding the best ergonomic position and balance of weight when the slicer is held in the hand. To enable better ergonomic slicing and reduce pressure on the wrist, there is an 18 degree angle between the handle and the blade. This combination of parameters enabled a sculptural form with a practical use.”
van Berkel 2017
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