Four Italian Cases
F. G. Alberti This chapter presents the case study of Alessi, a company based in the houseware district of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola that specialises in the manufacture of household articles, including design-based articles and objects with a high symbolic value. The aim of this chapter is to describe the entrepreneurial growth process of the firm, setting it within the context of the sector and the industrial district and presenting the economic–financial consequences of this growth. The chapter is divided into four parts: the background of the houseware sector and its development; a focus on the history and trends in the houseware district of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, which accounts for one third of the whole Italian sector; the milestones in the history of Alessi, the chief player in the district; a closer look at Alessi’s growth and performance. 5.1. 5.1.1. THE HOUSEWARE INDUSTRY The Market and Industry at World Level The houseware industry is very varied both in terms of products and of materials and technology used. As far as materials are concerned houseware can be divided into articles made in metal (pots, cutlery and knives), in plastic, ceramic or china and those made of glass. In terms of products, the houseware industry is generally divided into tableware, kitchenware and other household articles. The tableware sector can be broken down into three product categories; dinnerware (plates, bowls, cups, saucers, dishes), glassware (glasses, stemware and barware of glass and crystal); flatware (cutlery, knives and other eating utensils); and kitchenware (cookware, cleaning and storage utensils and...
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