Big Top Table: Alessi at the Circus

Alessi may be known for quiet modernism, but the brand’s latest line by Marcel Wanders is a three-ring circus of color, material, and functionality.

Jonathon Kambouris
OF 6

Alessi’s 29-piece Circus collection, by the Dutch impresario Marcel Wanders, pushes the designer’s controlled-whimsy aesthetic over the edge with an acrobatic cast for the dining table. A jester doubles as a corkscrew, while a strongman will crack any nutshell. “We wanted to make a set your grandmother would have bought,” Wanders says. “And you as a kid would have discovered. And you as a parent would show your kids.”

Using a process that forges colored stainless steel without any chippable surface paint, the Alessi-Wanders collaboration started with the Fatman folding cake stand in 2012. It took another four years to develop the whole collection. There are five functional figurines, each with a limited run of 999. Serving trays, place mats, an ice bucket, and bone china cups and bowls, all in unlimited editions, complete the set. “It’s a design that’s nearer to the heart than the modernistic style we’ve seen over the last hundred years,” Wanders says. Limited-edition pieces from $1,500;