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Alessi Memory Containers

Leap into the 21st century with Alessi’s updated metallic finishes. These footed "Chimu" bowls, designed by Joanna Lyle, are almost too pretty to be used for anything but perhaps channeling messages from outer space. But turn on your practical side, and the steely blue or warm gold finishes (new to Alessi this year) are the ideal accent for a holiday table, filled perhaps with candies, water and floating flowers, or simply a huge stack of whipping cream awaiting its adorning duties on a dessert as tasty-looking as the serveware. Suggested retail: $110. —AG


  • Spice Tower
  • Stacked food, if you’re into that, requires stacked spices, right? In this spice tower, designed for Alessi by Wolfgang Hints, you can store six of your favorite varieties of peppercorns, dried herbs, even nuts or — why limit it to the kitchen? This useful item, in plastic with a stainless-steel lid on top, would also be handy for guest soaps, cotton swabs and gauze, or for paper clips, sticky notes and ink cartridges. Fill it with dried flower petals, a different type in each container, for a colorful accent. Or seeds for next year’s garden. Or … ? Suggested retail: $45. —AG

  • Strawbowls
  • For Alessi, a company better known for its durable, polished-metal and hard-plastic pieces, these organic bowls are a departure into a new and biodegradable world. Created by Kristiina Lessus, a Finnish designer working for the Italian company, the bowls are formed from straw, potato flour and water which is put in a mold and fired before it’s glazed with beeswax. The result is a set of two bowls that seems destined for Zen altars around the world, perhaps meant to hold a few ripe oranges or a perfectly formed bowl full of air. In any case, built-in obsolescence is crucial here: The pieces are meant to last no more than five years, which allows enough time for contemplation, but barely enough time for gathering dust. Suggested retail: $47. —AG

  • Oil Cruet
  • Until he started to design items for Target stores, too, Michael Graves name was practically synonymous with Alessi. Never mind, it’s still synonymous with innovative and delightful design (and more power to Target, one might add). This oil cruet is a handy dispenser to keep on the kitchen counter or dining room table for those moments when the conversation (or the linguini) needs a bit of lubrication. Sure, it’s like the oil cruets you can find elsewhere for a fraction of the $118 suggested price, but don’t let it slip your mind that you just can’t get ones like these at Target. Yet. —AG

  • Mr. Cold
  • One of Alessi’s signatures is a sense of humor coupled with a strong sense of design. In this witty piece, entitled "Mr. Cold," designer Massimo Giacon has combined both elements to create a functional soap dispenser that will make scrubbing away germs seem like a ducky game. These are some of the newest items from a series of molded thermoplastic resin pieces (happily less expensive than much of Alessi’s shinier works) that includes alien-shaped salt and pepper shakers, witty serving trays and even a handy toothbrush and dispenser, not to mention a deep-sea-diver-turned-toilet plunger called "Johnny the Diver." Suggested retail: $34. —AG

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