The Alessi 9090

Alessi—In the 1970s, Alessi invested $300,000 to develop its first cooking appliance: a stovetop espresso maker by Richard Sapper. The northern Italian family business had made stainless steel serving accessories for decades, but the risk of engineered cookware proved contentious. Alberto Alessi’s uncle, Ettore, the technical guru, was so incensed by the project’s challenges that he once stormed out of a meeting, “leaving me and Sapper very embarrassed,” Alessi recalls. Today, the 9090 is an icon housed in the MoMA collection, and Alessi produces 50,000 of them a year.

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