“Alba” design by Ben van Berkel/UNStudio, 2017
“The Alba design is inspired by the interweaving of the roots of the trees and the knottiness of the tuber. We have worked hard to find the best ergonomic position and the right balance of weight when the slicer is held in the hand. To allow the best ergonomic grip during the cutting and reduce the pressure on the wrist we have created an angle of 18 degrees between the handle and the blade. The application of these parameters allowed to combine a sculptural form with a practical use”.
Ben van Berkel
After the item designed by Ettore Sottsass in 1991, the truffle-slicer returns into the Alessi catalog with a new futuristic interpretation by Ben van Berkel.
The opportunity to rethink an elite tool, already existing in the kitchens of the 1700s, is the result of a collaboration among Alessi, the Centro Nazionale Studi Tartufo and the International Alba White Truffle Fair Organization. The opportunity to meet up with excellence that unites the uniqueness of a local product in a single object, the Alba white truffle, with the most advanced design.
The “Alba” project by Ben van Berkel is the conclusive outcome of the “De Truffle” workshop launched in 2015 and completed in 2017, which fifteen designers were invited to. In addition to Ben van Berkel/UNStudio: 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 (after thecity with the same name) celebrates the act of serving the truffle with an accessory where beauty and power of design are combined with functionality expressed by a sculptural form.
The twist of the steel recalls the interweaving of the roots of the trees where the truffle is born and grows in symbiosis with the plant. The curved line emphasizes the ergonomic line of the handle, which makes the most of the weight balance to obtain a perfect cut. The 18-degree angle between the handle and the blade reduces the pressure on the wrist during its use. An adjustment mechanism allows to obtain different thicknesses of truffle flakes, from 0 to 3 millimeters. The designer has provided for the possibility to completely close the blade to safely store the tool after use.
“Alba” is a table micro-sculpture that traces a new kind of beauty, for a convivial experience that makes modern an ancient gastronomic ritual.