Espresso coffee maker in aluminium casting. Handle and knob in thermoplastic resin, black. This project is a tribute to my maternal grandfather Alfonso Bialetti who, in the ’30s of the 20th century, was the inventor, designer and first manufacturer of the Moka Express, the popular Italian espresso coffee maker. Octagonal in shape, inspired by Futurism and Art Deco, and produced in die cast aluminium, the “Moka” is an archetype in its category, earning my grandfather eternal fame as a designer, even though he probably wasn’t looking for it. I have often asked myself the reasons why this small household object became such a phenomenonal example of Made in Italy. Recently, it’s even been bestowed the status of proto-Italian design. The fact is that the “Moka” is indelibly inscribed in the collective memory of the Italian people (and not only). It formalized a new, contemporary ritual, intimate and familiar. With the reassuring rumble of the coffee being produced over a gas flame, it has established a connection with the public’s imagination that will continue to be repeated every morning regardless of the fashions currently prevailing on the market of electric, single-serving coffee pots with their packets and capsules. In our history we have already addressed the issue of the Espresso maker with projects created by top designers: Richard Sapper, Aldo Rossi, Michael Graves, King-Kong, Piero Lissoni, Wiel Arets, and intended for the high-end market. This time I asked Alessandro Mendini (with whom I’ve been talking about this issue for at least twenty years) to come up with a new project for a coffee maker, trying to put himself in my grandfather’s shoes and re-interpret the ingenious invention with today’s awareness of the levers effecting contemporary design. And all of this done with the great innovation of maintaining a low price, an exceptionally low price for a product from Alessi. Manufactured by Alessi.
Designed in 2011.