To celebrate its centennial, Alessi treats design lovers to intriguing special editions: Richard Sapper’s espresso coffee maker 9090 and Aldo Rossi’s La conica are featured in the Alessi 100 Values Collection as previously unpublished original versions.
UNIQUE, HIGH-QUALITY MOKA POTS have been among the most essential products of the Italian brand Alessi for many decades. Moka pots are also included in the Alessi 100 Values Collection, which was released to celebrate Alessi’s 100th anniversary.
Released during 2021 and 2022, the collection consists of 12 different projects, each presenting one of Alessi’s core values. The sixth project introduces previously unreleased versions of two very iconic and expressive stove-top coffee makers: 9090 by Richard Sapper and La conica by Aldo Rossi. The sixth part of the collection is titled the Research Lab.
“I consider Alessi to be an industrial research laboratory dedicated to a continuous mediation between the immensity of creative possibilities and the needs, or rather the dreams, of the public. Several hundred of the most stimulating designers of the various eras we have been through have worked with us. Their work is documented and preserved in our museum.
Two particularly interesting examples of this aspect of Alessi are the coffee makers – 9090 by Richard Sapper and La conica by Aldo Rossi – of which we present two unpublished ‘laboratory proofs’ from our archives”, Alessi’s president Alberto Alessi explains.
Clad in red: espresso coffee maker 9090 manico forato
Designed by Richard Sapper and released in 1978, the espresso coffee maker 9090 was the first Moka pot in Alessi’s collection as well as the first Alessi item in the permanent collection of MoMA New York.
The new limited edition of the espresso coffee maker, 9090 manico forato, boasts an original, previously unpublished orange-red handle with a perforated inside to facilitate heat dispersion. Red was the only color Sapper regularly used in his objects, often to emphasize the mobile and intersecting parts of the products. This was also the case with the espresso maker 9090, which has an inventive closing system in the handle.
“I wanted to give this machine features that others don’t have, such as the ability to open it and wash it with one hand. I wanted to make better use of the heat, which is why it widens at the base. I didn't want to make a plastic handle because sooner or later they all end up burning and then you throw the coffee machine away. And I wanted to make a machine that didn't look like a coffeemaker... an espresso machine like that isn’t a coffeemaker: it’s a little steam engine!” Sapper once said.
Born in Germany and settled in Milan in the 1950s, Sapper is known not only as a designer of Alessi’s kitchen items but also of many technical devices, such as Lenovo’s ThinkPad laptops. During his career, Sapper won altogether 11 Compasso d’Oro awards.
La conica manico lungo draws from architecture
Designed by architect Aldo Rossi and originally published in 1983, La conica does not look like the most typical Moka pot either. A combination of different geometric shapes, La conica was named after its conical top. The stainless steel pot has a base made of copper, an excellent conductor of heat.
The model published in the Alessi 100 Values Collection is, in fact, the very first version of La conica. Before its release in 1983, the design was modified to suit the requirements of mass production. The new special edition, La conica manico lungo, is easy to distinguish because of its light blue knob and handle, as well as the handle’s horizontal shape, which was inspired by ancient Italian cuccume pots.
Aldo Rossi’s architectural background is clearly visible in La conica’s design – the pot is like a narrow conical-roofed house in miniature size. One of the most significant Italian architects of his time, Rossi is famous for his unique style based on primary geometric forms and the use of abstraction and reduction. Rossi was the first Italian architect to win the prestigious Pritzker Architect Award.
Text: Nora Uotila Images: Alessi