1. Home
  2. Specials
  3. Salone del Mobile 2015
  4. Juicy Salif: history of a sculptural lemon squeezer
| Designbest editorial staff


an a “doodle” drawn on a paper placemat become a sought-after design object? Yes, it can, if the author of that sketch is Philippe Starck in person. This is how Juicy Salif, the iconic lemon squeezer, designed in 1990 for Alessi, was born. Back then, it was just an intuition, sparked in front of a plate of calamari during a lunch on the island of Capraia: Philippe Starck, instead of impatiently tapping his fingers on the placemat, started drawing on it, inspired by the sea-food and the lemon to juice on  it. Once his project was completed, he sent it to Alberto Alessi, who had been waiting for months for the project of a tray, not expecting that of a paradoxical lemon squeezer.

The result was that Juicy Salif became the most famous lemon squeezer in the history of design, a much critiqued but widely loved object-symbol. It is impossible not to recognize it at first glance: this statuesque lemon squeezer is a true iconic piece, showcased even at the MOMA in New York. The merit of its celebrity goes to its innovative and organic spider shape , which surprises and is deemed controversial to this day. Starck himself admitted that it is more of a “conversation object”, highly decorative and intentionally provocative, rather than a useful piece for juicing lemons on fried fish.

Glorified, celebrated and critiqued, along the years Juicy Salif has come in many models – even a golden one - , and today, in celebration of its 25 years, it is introduced in two new versions: one in die-cast aluminium with a matte white ceramic cladding, and a limited edition in die-cast bronze (only 299 pieces). Its functionality is yet to be proven, but of one thing we are sure: this lemon squeezer has an artistic vein that makes it a perfect piece in its theatricality. Handiness delicately leaves the stage to elegance. 

share on: