“I arrived in Milan in May 1988 with 60 kilos of luggage and a sewing machine, about £100, and extremely limited knowledge of the Italian language. Armed with these tools, but determined to succeed, I began the tour with my portfolio in the hope of being one of the few foreign graduates fortunate enough to obtain a paid job in one of the famous and prestigious Milan design studios.“
Joanna Lyle x Alessi
Born in the north of England to a family of artists and designers, Joanna’s birthday presents always included a set of special paints, pencils or pens. Her childhood was spent painting and drawing, often just “playing” with colours, inspired, perhaps subconsciously, by the heather-covered moors and the wild landscapes of the windswept Yorkshire Dales. Growing up with the example of her parents constantly working on exciting creative projects instilled in Joanna the belief that you can create anything if you are determined enough.
Jo followed in the family footsteps by attending the Bradford College of Art where she completed the Foundation Course in Art & Design. She continued her studies in London, where she graduated in Three Dimensional Design at Middlesex University, followed by a Master in Furniture Design & Technology at the University of Buckinghamshire.
In 1990 she won the “Alessi Memory Containers” competition with her “Chimu” bowl – the beginning of an extensive collaboration with Alessi, the result of which was the of “Ovo” range of egg-shaped containers , now iconic celebrations of kitchen design. Other manufacturers took note, and she went on to develop products with leading companies including Acerbis International, Fiam and Arredaesse.