One thing about returning home to Melbourne from overseas, is that you are guaranteed a great coffee from just about every street corner! Not that I am a coffee snob (actually I am very easily pleased) I do not need a fancy-pants coffee machine at home, just my trusty stove-top espresso maker and some Illy coffee and I'm happy.
I have worked my way through a few of these classic stove-top espresso makers in my time, and thought in honour of our exceptional coffee culture, it would be fitting to highlight the product range from Alessi - many models earning iconic status.
The model that literally started it all (the Moka pot above) was designed, created and produced by the Alfonso Bialetti the grandfather of the current president of Alessi and it has earned it's place in many design museums across the world as an archetypal example of iconic design in this category.
However, the first espresso maker that the Alessi company actually commissioned (and was their first kitchen product) was the 9090 (above) designed by Richard Sapper in 1978. This award winning design is now itself a permanent feature in the MoMA's (New York) design collection.
Ina recent interview (see more here) the head of Alessi, Alberto Alessi views the 9090 model as an homage to his maternal grandfather's original design.
Since then, Alessi has become synonymous with fostering creativity and producing great designs for the kitchen and home.
The Aldo Rossi design below, was a huge hit in the 80's for Alessi and it was conceived as part of a challenge to famous architects, to design a tea and coffee service. This design was the first mass-produced piece for the winning architect Aldo Rossi who was considered by many to be one of the most influential Italian architects of the last 50 years.
It wasn't Rossi's last coffee-maker design - La Cupola 9095 below produced in the late 80's clearly shows how he explored the relationships we have between architecture and our own domestic spaces.
The latest incarnation for Alessi is the Moka Alessi AAM33 designed by Alessandro Mendini, the multi award winning architect and designer. Alessi approached the designer to create a Moka pot for today -the result is an interpretation of the original Moka pot angular art-deco angles with a curved base and handle to reflect today's more 'organic' design influences.
I hope this inspires you to see the humble stove-top espresso maker in a new light?