The absolutes: 21 stovetop coffeemakers that changed the history of design... and coffee
Moka Express, Alfonso Bialetti, Bialetti, 1933
“Automatic domestic coffee maker that contains coffee, tea or chamomile between two hermetically sealed vessels, the lower of which serves as a boiler to be heated on any stove and the upper of which serves as a receptacle for the brew”.
(Extract from the description of the Bialetti Moka Express patent)
Neapolitan coffee maker, Ilsa, circa 1950s
This stainless-steel coffee maker boasts an ultra-glossy surface. The new design of the Ilsa Neapolitan coffeemaker, which updates the 1950s aluminum model, aims to simplify the shapes and clean up the walls of the two cylinders that make up the classic Neapolitan coffeemaker design. The handles are in steel and face outwards. Available in different sizes: 1-2/3/6/9 cups.
Arne Jacobsen coffee pot (Cylindia line), Arne Jacobsen, Stelton, 1967
Taut, geometric expression, that of Arne Jacobsen, who in 1967 set out to create a modern, functional alternative to traditional silverware. The stainless steel Cylindia coffee pot owes its development to simple steel tubes for industrial production, which, with the addition of a spout and a pointed bakelite handle, are transformed into a piston coffeemaker – the first of a collection consisting of 17 elements.
Carmencita, Marco Zanuso, Lavazza, 1979
“Carmencita sei già mia, chiudi il gas e vieni via” (Carmencita, you are already mine, turn off the stove and come away) went Lavazza’s cheerful slogan on Carosello, a historic advertising show in Italy.
In 1979, in homage to the shapes and history of this popular Lavazza commercial, Marco Zanuso created a unique coffee maker. Carmencita, the braided cone, and Caballero, the cowboy hat cone, created by the fertile imagination of Armando Testa, gave the coffee maker its distinctive features. Zanuso would also add a handle on the side for a more comfortable grip. This coffee pot is an industrial design item that anticipates the strong influence that communication will have on the product, making Carmencita a symbol of Lavazza’s history.
9090 Espresso coffee maker, Richard Sapper, Alessi, 1979
An enlarged base, an anti-drip spout, and a lever lock that makes it easy to open the coffee pot, with a simple gesture of the hand, are just a few of the features that make up the distinctive design of Alessi’s espresso coffee maker, which won the brand its first Compasso d’Oro, a prestigious Italian award. Born in 1979 from the inspiration of Richard Sapper, the 9090 was the first espresso coffee maker in the history of Alessi - the Piedmontese company based in Crusinallo, north of Italy.
La Conica, Aldo Rossi, Alessi, 1984
La Conica is a micro-architecture for the table with a stainless-steel body and copper base. It’s Aldo Rossi’s first industrial design project for Officine Alessi, designed between 1980 and 1983. Created as an evolution of the “Tea&Coffee Piazza” competition promoted by Alessandro Mendini for Alessi, it owes its name to the shape of its lid – a simple geometric shape produced “by rotating a right-angled triangle around a cathetus,” as Aldo Rossi himself explains in an interview.
Accademia, Ettore Sottsass e Matteo Thun, Lagostina, 1984
Whether it came in metallic amaranth with a white handle or in purple with a pink handle, the Accademia coffee pot also made an impression with its 25-cm height. The Accademia set, designed by Ettore Sottsass and Matteo Thun for Lagostina, is a scaled-down example of the experiments the duo carried out during their Memphis experience. In addition to the coffee pot, the set included a tray, sugar bowl, and teapot.
Neapolitan Coffee Maker, Riccardo Dalisi, Alessi, 1987
This Neapolitan coffee maker boasts a stainless-steel mirror polish and Canaletto walnut handle. Alessi’s “cuccumella” is the result of a long research that engaged Riccardo Dalisi from 1979 to 1987. Over 200 different tin prototypes trace the historical legacy of a product born in the vicoli of Naples, among the tinsmith shops of Rua Catalana.
Opera, Cini Boeri, La Pavoni, 1989
Opera is a solid, a combination of geometric forms with which Cini Boeri wanted to honor steam-pressure coffee makers. Its boiler is slender and meets a spherical container screwed onto it (21 cm in total), which stores the precious final product as if it were a treasure. Opera is a fusion of primary solids, an example of micro-domestic architecture.
Espresso Maker, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, Barazzoni, 1990
In 1990, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche designed his own moka pot, reinventing its traditional shape by rethinking the outer surface. He transformed the sinuous body of the traditional brewing machine, giving it an almost statuesque, straight, and rigid appearance. The sturdy lines and relative faces are doubled on the bottom part, compared to the top one, while a hollow steel silhouette handle completes the unique picture.
Vesuvio, Zani&Zani, Gaetano Pesce, 1992
Designed between 1988 and 1989 and produced in 1992, Vesuvio by Gaetano Pesce is an object that pictures a specific land and culture – it’s a tribute to the city of Naples, a hymn to the ability of design to create an emotional relationship between an object and the person who uses it. In contrast to abstract and formal design, Gaetano Pesce’s moka pot is intended to be a cult object that celebrates the – collective – ritual of coffee. Conceived for a collectors’ audience, the project also proposed to change the color of the resin around the upper part (the lava) every year, so that one could date one’s own coffee pot.
Mach, Isao Hosoe with Sam Ribet, Serafino Zani, 1993
A parallelepiped connects two perfectly identical cones. Through this peculiar structure, Isao Hosoe endows the Mach coffee pot with the symbolic and ritual value that underlies the process of transforming water into coffee. The water chamber is joined to the top by a Greek column that takes on a semantic as well as practical function.
Zazà, Silvana Angeletti and Daniele Ruzza, Guzzini, 1994
A couple in design and in life, Silvana Angeletti and Daniele Ruzza designed Zazà for Guzzini in 1994. Its aluminum body and transparent plastic handle perfectly match its soft and richly rounded design.
La Zaniezani, Ettore Sottsass, Zani&Zani, 1998
This coffee pot reworks classic geometries by simply juxtaposing different elements. Ettore Sottsass’ Lazaniezani thin-steel coffee maker is drenched in Victorian influences. While the cast aluminum water chamber has a classic conical geometry, the top seems to detach from the body, echoing the shape of a crinoline skirt.
Ossidiana, Mario Trimarchi, Alessi, 2014
Ossidiana proposes new domestic ergonomics by shaving off the superfluous aluminum flakes from a cylindrical volume. Designed by Mario Trimarchi for Alessi, this piece holds the memory of ancestral objects and, through its faceted surface, recalls the volcanic stone from which it takes its name.
Caffeina, Giulio Iacchetti for Viceversa, 2013
“The story of a pleasant coffee break that, through simple shapes and clean profiles, creates a family of objects of simple elegance”. This is how Giulio Iacchetti describes his “Caffeina” project for Viceversa. The set includes a coffee maker in 2 sizes with a sleek aluminum body and nylon handle, a saucer and coffee cup, a mug for American coffee, and a sugar bowl with a spoon. The espresso coffee maker consists of a truncated cone with a lid whose color contrasts sharply with the body and completes the spout.
Sucabaruca, Luca Nichetto + Mjölk, 2014
A conical shape and hand-carved ceramics define Sucabaruca – a project that involved people from different cultures and nations: the gallery owners of Mjölk (a Toronto-based art gallery founded in 2009), Luca Nichetto, Canadian ceramicist Alissa Coe, Valeria Moiseeva – a Russian designer and artist now based in New York – and Elena Freddi, who collaborates with Nichetto’s studio in Stockholm. The Sucabaruca filter coffee maker takes its name from a Venetian dialect term used to refer to a type of pumpkin covered in bumps and ribs.
Lunika 360, Francesco Fusillo, Lunika Moka, 2015
Francesco Fusillo’s design creates a new gesture to “serve coffee”. If other designers have moved the handle, stretched it, or made it more ergonomically comfortable, Fusillo decided to fully eliminate it in his Lunika 360 coffee maker. The upper chamber is made of solid wood, which protects against heat and makes up for the absence of a handle with an unusual and innovative grip.
Brew stove top, Tom Dixon, 2015
Brew, signed by Tom Dixon, is a stainless-steel coffee maker available in two finishes: glossy silver and glossy copper. From materials to visual code, Tom Dixon, remixes Art Deco elements and hyper-reflective surfaces in an encounter of primary solids. The set includes every useful element to officiate the coffee ritual – a ground coffee container, ladle, plunger coffee pot, milk jug, cookie container, and serving tray.
Collar Espresso Maker, Collar Collection, Daniel Debiasi and Federico Sandri, Stelton, 2016
This unique espresso maker is finished with a Teflon-coated black steel body and an oak wood handle. The Collar set was designed by Daniel Debiasi and Federico Sandri, who gave soft silhouettes to the collection, completed by a stainless-steel teapot and infuser.
Exclusive Silver NM3 Edition Pourover Coffee Stand, Heliot Emil x NM3, SSENSE, 2022
It’s a one-piece mirror polished stainless steel coffee stand with removable stainless steel cone. NM3 and Heliot Emil’s filter coffee stand looks like a sculpture in synthesis. It’s created by cutting, bending, and polishing a single sheet of steel to make a classic object contemporary.