There are few possessions I treasure as much as my whistling kettle. I bought it when we were living in Italy and splurged to have an Alessi kettle to call my own. We had a very efficient and modern European kitchen with a tiny 4 burner hob. The kettle was the perfect size.
Back stateside, the kettle remains a fixture in my daily life, and a cheerful reminder of life abroad. I adore its fabulous design and the two note harmonious whistle reminding me the tea water is ready. The only problem, and it is a small, but telling detail, is the seemingly perfectly sized kettle in Italy is precariously small on my American cooking range. If it is not placed exactly on the iron ring, the handle starts to melt. One is alerted to this off-centeredness by the pungent smell of burning plastic.
But this is the price (and pride) one must pay for a piece of classic Italian design in an American kitchen. I recently learned this is a problem other Alessi 9091 fans may have also encountered. They do sell replacement handles, along with pipes and springs for Richard Sapper's 1982 design, now called, the first designer kettle.
Richard Sapper is a name that may be less familiar to design addicts that do not have a 9091 kettle for their tea. However, the German born industrial designer was also the elegant engineering genius that brought us the Tizio lamp in 1972 by Artemide and the IBM ThinkPad. His career has taken him from Mercedes Benz to cutting edge Italian consumer products through his independent studio based in Milan.