a cura di Margherita Pogliani

During Milan Design Week 2022, MUMAC organized the “Heritage and design behind coffee machines” panel discussion in which professionals in Italian culture and design, moderated by Patrick Abbattista, Founder & CEO of Design Wanted, gathered at the ADI Design Museum, the heart of Italian design history, to discuss how style, design and innovation are increasingly being used to serve Corporate Cultural Responsibility in creating value. Starting from the book “SENSO ESPRESSO. Coffee. Style. Emotions.”, which correlates the production of an entire Made in Italy district with a more general context relating to Italian heritage, creativity and business innovation, several speakers took turns to engage in an interesting and original debate.

“Coffee connects people, experiences and relationships, allowing different voices to speak so that everyone can recognize themselves in specific narratives,” remarked Barbara Foglia, manager of MUMAC, inviting people to browse through this multisensory book as though it were a museum in which you rediscover the taste of our beautiful country’s style.

“Total cultural and entrepreneurial polyphony,” is how Michela Antiga, head of the publishing house of the same name, defined it, “that aims to share a timeless path of design and technology, while representing each of the companies involved.” Companies that have been stepping up their efforts for years by investing not only in research, but also in preservation and sharing of unique stories, products and experiences around the world, such as the Tipoteca foundation, which houses a collection of printing presses and lead and wood typefaces.
“Each exhibit represents a piece of history. In patents, historical documents, books and digitized archives (from corporate to editorial) we have identified many interconnected points that have shaped the history of espresso, tracing a sense and a functional memory for the research and development of new solutions,” explained Edgardo Ferrero, Services Director at Gruppo Cimbali.

“One notable point in this history is 1962 with the Pitagora, the only professional espresso machine to have won a Compasso d’Oro,” explained Giovanna Castiglioni, head of the Achille Castiglioni Foundation, “thanks to the sleek, extremely functional design that the Castiglioni brothers dared to come up with for this machine at a time when decoration was still extensively used.”
1962 was undeniably the third year in a magical three-year period: the economic boom propelled by postwar reconstruction taught us that moments of crisis and disastrous situations offer opportunities to completely rethink objects. “Then, as now,” commented Antonella Andriani, ADI Vice President, “there was a focus on efficiency: the Pitagora made the production process more efficient because restarting also meant offering coffee with machines that were faster and cheaper to produce. Today, efficiency is expressed by sustainability, a central theme for the next Compasso d’Oro.”

“This book,” stressed Antiga, “has the great merit of having a very strong, visually striking layout with a precise structure and a narrative that is easy to read and learn in order to face our future, conscious of a past that goes beyond the history it sought to express.”

A history that characterizes all outstanding Made in Italy products, as noted by Elisa Storace, curator of the Museo Kartell located just 700 metres from MUMAC. “Our museum was one of the first Museimpresa members, which have been associated since the end of the last millennium with the aim of sharing a strong identity with like-minded partners, enthusiastically collaborating to communicate their own specific characteristics, as well as the elective affinities underlying each story through style and emotion.”

“Heritage, art, and design make it possible to bring an increasingly wide audience closer to our museums,” commented Silvia Adler, Project Manager of MuseoCity, an association that brings together and innovates art, culture, science, design and technology in the Lombardy region with initiatives to support projects closely related to the world of Italian design.

“To have been is a condition of being. Tradition is safeguarding a fire, not worshipping ashes.” These were the opening remarks of Antonio Calabrò, President of Museimpresa. “Coffee and conversation, coffee and social clubs, and Coffee as a magazine of the Lombard Enlightenment highlight a process that established the roots of a way of doing business that is reflected in our business histories. A constant adjustment over time and also a gathering point of relationships that expresses a community bond. A civil way of coming together that produces value, wealth, and culture in an extraordinarily current form.”

“Thus culture, history, future, innovation, style and made in Italy derive from the ability to build relationships. And ADI welcomes these relationships in an archipelago “where the islands are the knowledge of life and the sea is the design that unites them,” remarked Andriani. “Collaboration is also key to being culturally inclusive, presenting multiple viewpoints to learn about the past and understand what direction to take. Museums therefore become places of wealth, a lever of social, cultural and economic development. Places that should be experienced in all their expressions as a unique feature of Italy.”

“New initiatives are also flourishing, such as MuseoCity’s ‘Coffee Break’, an original format consisting of unexpected stories devised during the pandemic to offer a voice to museums that were suddenly closed, as Silvia Adler recalled, because,” stressed Calabrò, “a business museum is an asset that preserves memory and experience, a self-narrative that allows people to understand the history that characterizes the business and to view it as a place to build a future.”

The Museo Kartell, which was established as a participatory foundation to serve as a bridge between the company’s history and the creation of culture, is also an example of this. Just as at MUMAC, loans and activities lie at the heart of a relationship that allows history to be reread through an external perspective, opening up new horizons. “It is a matter of continuous experimentation,” Giovanna Castiglioni confirmed, “of new relationships between people or institutions and living objects, which remain narrative voices that allow us to reinvent ourselves every day.”

Museum spaces, foundations, and books are therefore all collections that take on a social role: “sustainability,” Antiga stressed, “is also about creating culture and uniting stories by letting analog and digital coexist, bringing a diverse audience together and conveying values that are applicable in every market and context.”

Values that mark time and celebrate the creativity and expertise of Italian companies.

Values that are always alive, that look to the future aware of their roots, witnesses to endless research and cultural responsibility, as attested by the large digital pendulum inside the ADI Design Museum in Milan that reveals, one minute after another, images and stories of 110 Italian business museums associated with Museimpresa that continue to distinguish our expertise throughout the world.

After all, “everything can be copied, except history”, concluded Museimpresa President Calabrò, a concept echoed by Foglia, who emphasized that, in addition to history, culture cannot be copied, reiterating the importance of corporate spaces – production, archives and museums – as elements of Corporate Cultural Responsibility, living organs, glimpses into the future that are conscious of their roots, fires to be kept alive for future generations.


You can watch the full video of the conference here

Read Antonella Andriani’s article here

Learn about Museimpresa’s initiatives and members