When the Italian company opens its doors in SoHo, it will be turning a custom-designed doorknob made from the sustainable wood it manufactures. Azure will mark the occasion with a celebration on Monday, May 20, timed to coincide with New York Design Week.
The Alpi showroom is unlike others due to the fact that Alpi is unique among design companies. Since it is a reconstituted wood product that the company designs – and not furniture or fixtures – the challenge in designing the space was to give a clear sense of the properties and versatility of the material without limiting it to specific objects.
That challenge fell to Milan designer Matteo Ragni. “It’s not exactly a showroom since we don’t design products like furniture,” he explains. “It’s more like a temporary office where designers can meet with clients to become inspired and to discuss possibilities.”
Alpi specializes in sustainable and customizable wood products for flooring, furnishings, doors and more. And its expanding presence – the New York showroom comes on the heels of storefronts in Milan and Moscow, also designed by Ragni – is understandable given the widespread interest in versatile and eco-sensitive finishes.
Designers can specify unusual wood-grain patterns and colours without having to fell exotic tree species to get the outcome just right. The Alpilignum line, for example, boasts FSC-certified poplar and ayous veneers bursting with striped highlights in white, blue, orange, red and other surprising hues. “It’s exciting,” says Ragni. “When you work with this material, you feel like you can design nature.”
Situated on the top floor of the famed Soho Building at 110 Greene Street, the new space affords sweeping views of just about everything south of Prince Street. “This space is a teaser for designers so they can use it as a secondary office and be amazed by the possibilities of the material,” says Ragni.
The space is meant to accommodate a range of functions. With an office for the company representative and a small kitchen, both of which can be partitioned off from the main space, the room is otherwise open. A conference table and chairs (made, of course, with Alpi material) allows designers and clients to discuss ideas.
A series of displays – wall-mounted panels, a cabinet with sheets of samples, and a podium with Alpi-made flooring and benches – provide a sense of what can be produced without encumbering on the openness of the space. Samples of other objects made with Alpi products, like eyeglass frames, bowls and vases, are tucked away in cabinets.
“You can’t come here to buy the wood, but you can appreciate the colours and textures of it, and then you can go design whatever you want.” With that spirit in mind, the company hopes to engage with the New York design community by exhibiting products designed in New York and made with Alpi wood.
To provide a taste of what’s possible with Alpi’s rich product palette, the company will give away doorknobs to the first 100 guests to arrive at its Azure-sponsored opening party on May 20, from 6pm to 9pm. Azure will provide the accompanying door tags.
Alpi is located at SoHo Building, 110 Greene Street, 12K.