ben van berkel/UNStudio designs alessi alba truffle slicer as microsculpture

ben van berkel/UNStudio designs alessi alba truffle slicer as microsculpture

celebrating an age-old culinary ritual, ben van berkel/UNStudio combines beauty and power to design the sculpted and highly functional alessi ‘alba’ truffle slicer. the futuristic new guise once again returns the typology of a truffle slicer to the italian brand’s portfolio, after ettore sottsass’ ‘UT0244’ was released back in 1991.

beauty and power balances in this fine dining utensil
all images courtesy of alessi



alba was inspired by intertwining tree roots and the knottiness of tubers. extensive consideration was given to finding the best ergonomic position and balance of weight when the slicer is held in the hand. to enable better ergonomic slicing and reduce pressure on the wrist, there is an 18 degree angle between the handle and the blade. this combination of parameters enabled a sculptural form with a practical use,’ explains ben van berkel.

its slim, twisting steel shape appears as a microsculpture, rather than as a kitchen accessory



the alessi ‘alba’ truffle slicer’s twisting steel shape references the intertwining roots of the rare and precious delicacies, but significantly provides more than just aesthetic appeal. the curved profile and 18° angle helps reduce pressure on the server’s wrist, whilst distributing weight evenly across the utensil to produce the perfect slice. the tabletop microsculpture features an adjustment mechanism that allows the user to vary slice thickness from zero to three millimeters.

the adjustment blade can fold back into the curved form



subject to the assessment of the skilled selection committee, to the opinion of the public and to their technical feasibility; the one which was chosen is: alba, designed by the dutch architect ben van berkel who […] had a brilliant insight by bringing the concept back to the primordial typological reference of the item itself: the plane,said alberto alessi.

perfect slices up to 3mm can be made



ben van berkel/UNStudio’s ‘alba’ truffle slicer marks the end product of the two-year ‘de truffle’ workshop, which was launched in collaboration between alessi, the national centre for truffle studies and the international white truffle fair of alba. the process saw 15 famed designers propose and showcase their solution to the artful culinary act, all with a core focus on technical feasibility, aesthetics and poetic force. as well as UNStudio’s selected design, the competition saw entries from 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.

its 18 degree angle ensures the user’s weight is distributed evenly across the equipment



showcasing all the proposed designs, the workshop exhibition, ‘de truffle. alessi design meets alba white truffle’, runs from september 27th to november 26th 2017 at palazzo banca d’alba in alba.

the curved shape takes inspiration from the truffle’s intertwining roots


‘de truffle’ exhibition at palazzo banca d’alba in alba


all 15 proposed designs are showcased at the workshop


UNStudio-designed ‘alba’ truffle slicer is on display



    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    design news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,536 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample