Centro Modern Furnishings is a veritable candy store to quality home décor and kitchen gadget lovers, and the doohickey department's latest additions serve only to sweeten the pot.

The sole purveyor of Alessi kitchen wares in St. Louis, Centro now has the renown Italian design company's Spring/Summer 2012 collection available for special order.

“We're particularly intrigued with a collection of serving trays designed by Chinese architects,” including the 2012 Pritzker architecture prize winner, Wang Shu, says Centro owner Todd Lonnam.

Home cooks will also appreciate the intuitive coding on the five-piece Tatau (“tatau” is Polynesian for “tattoo”) knife set from Anna E. Gian Franco Gasparini. The blades are emblazoned with icons that cue the user on the appropriate foods on which to use each knife, and the gripping techniques best suited to specific tasks. For example, Tatau's 8 3/4-inch “Thick” knife features fish, meat, cake and melon “tattoos” to indicate the knife's suitability for these types of foods, along with four key cutting technique the user might employ.

Oh, and almost as charming as the knives themselves is the accompanying wooden cutting board. Elongated slots allow crumbs and juices to fall through to a removable catch-tray beneath. From there, cleanup's a breeze.

Much of Alessi's Spring/Summer 2012 collection is on display at Centro Modern Furnishings, and Lannom says other special pieces can be ordered at request.

“Alessi is known for quality and design, for searching out the best architects and designers in the world to design their collections,” he says. “Collectors are proud of the Alessi brand and proud of their collections.”

Centro Modern Furnishings, 4727 McPherson Ave., Central West End, centro-inc.com

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