Starting afresh from the culture of design and collaboration

From 28th September to 10th October, the Italian design industry is back in the limelight, opening once again to the public, while adapting to the current situation.

#Startingafreshfromculture. Milano Design City 2020 unites the culture of design and innovation with the culture of sustainability: 2 weeks of events in showrooms and other design venues. From 28th September to 10th October, the Italian design industry is back in the limelight, opening once again to the public, while adapting to the current situation.
Local events, talks, workshops, panel discussions and exhibitions to spread design culture are being held in showrooms, galleries and museums, including MUMAC, since design culture is an integral part of Gruppo Cimbali’s identity. The museum, which is already part of ADI’s Le Vie del Compasso d’Oro circuit together with the Faema Art&Caffeine flagship in the heart of Milan’s design district (via Forcella 7), is also participating in the event with a social media project. “A machine a day: coffee machines that blend art and design” is a schedule on the museum’s Facebook and Instagram channels in which an iconic machine is presented every day to assemble a “collection” of industrial design pieces.

Industrial design
“Industrial design is the discipline that determines the formal qualities of the industrial product. Today industry has become fully aware that its products must have a specific appearance and must feature a clear aesthetic that visibly expresses their functionality, both in terms of users’ needs and as a reflection of the complex historical, social (and therefore technical and cultural) context of the industry that created them and is presenting them to the public.” This is how Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni defined industrial design in 1962 just before Pitagora was marketed, becoming, a few months later, the only coffee machine in the world to have won the Compasso d’Oro. “There is no doubt,” the architects had predicted, “that Pitagora can be considered a successful industrial design solution, all the more so because its creation involved teamwork between La Cimbali’s Experimental Department, Mr. Vittorio Cimbali and ourselves… In every industrial design project, the collaboration between technicians and designers is crucial.”

Constructive dialogue
In the coffee machine sector specifically, “design cannot disregard the dialogue with mechanics, considering the living elements that necessarily contribute to the result, such as steam and pressure”, explains Valerio Cometti, who designed MUMAC and the latest models for La Cimbali, including M100, the symbol of espresso coffee. “The La Cimbali M100 project,” explained the engineer and designer during a conference, “is distinguished by its high level of complexity, which brings together values that are both important and potentially conflicting, such as productivity and high ergonomic, manufacturing, mechanical, thermal and maintainability standards. We had to take all this into full consideration, continually reconciling these technical requirements with the aesthetic ambition of the finished product, while above all creating visually striking elements from certain functional features, which in the M100 have reached unprecedented levels, including the addition of a touch-sensitive interface.” The machine can be admired at MUMAC in its “exploded” version, which provides a direct insight into the complexity that lies behind the design.

Design and function
It is the complex combination of industrial design, mechanics and functionality that distinguishes the coffee machines designed by such illustrious figures as Gio Ponti, Enzo Mari and Bruno Munari. We consider them in order, guided by Enrico Maltoni, a collector who specialises in the restoration of vintage machines from 1900 to 1960.
Design and practicality are the characteristics that Maltoni looks for in a model: “Aesthetically, I admire the elegance of La Pavoni DP47, known as ‘La Cornuta’, which was designed by Gio Ponti in 1947. This machine is considered the most beautiful and valuable in the coffee machine collecting world because there are only two existing models and the one housed at MUMAC is the only one that is always on public display.” It is the machine whose design truly embodies the “elegance of effort” sought by Ponti himself.

From Munari to Giugiaro
Proceeding in chronological order, during Designers Week we will be able to admire, in addition to La Cornuta, the La Pavoni Concorso model, designed in 1956 by Bruno Munari and Enzo Mari and renamed Diamante (Diamond) due to the faceted shape of its modular elements, which make it possible to achieve different colour and size combinations, and the winner of a design competition held by Domus, Casabella and Stile Industria that year: by then beauty was also considered essential for everyday objects, because, as Munari himself put it, “art must not be detached from life: beautiful things to look at and ugly things to use…”
One of the undisputed stars is the Pitagora model by the Castiglioni brothers, featuring a modified hydraulic group head: dispensing is activated by simply hooking on a filter holder, hence the slogan “The machine that makes coffee by itself”.
Ten years “younger”, the Faema Prestige model marked a true aesthetic and above all functional revolution: it could be serviced by simply unhooking the panels of the polycarbonate body in various colours.
The Gaggia Tel 2 model designed by De Gotzen features a “silumin” (silicon and aluminium) die- cast frame in different colours, while Marco Zanuso distinguished the bright orange Rancilio Z8 model with a honeycomb sheet metal body that resembles plastic.
In 1983 Ettore Sottsass and Aldo Cibic designed the Faema Tronic, an electronic machine for professional use featuring automatic control and programmable dosing.
La Cimbali produced the M15 model: designed by Rodolfo Bonetto in 1971 and explicitly inspired by pop art, it was intended to be positioned on the back counter in bars. Released two years later, the M20 model marked the transition from electromechanics to electronics thanks to the advent of the microprocessor.
In 1991 the Giugiaro Design firm, in collaboration with the FAEMA technical department, developed the E91, an unquestionably impressive and prestigious machine that is still in production.
La Cimbali’s M39 represents another step in innovation and design by Gianfranco Salvemini, included in the 2005 ADI Index.
Two years ago the E71E was launched, featuring an “extraordinary design” masterfully combined with intuitive ergonomics, functionality, technology and maximum customisation in terms of the settings and range of accessories. A splendid interpreter of gourmet coffee, inspired by the iconic E61 and the 2016 E71, also by Giugiaro Design, it delivers on its promise: “every machine is much more than the sum of its parts. But it is the details and the new design that make it truly unique.”