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February 26, 2009
Originally published in Mid-Century Remixed

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.

The factory contains a wide array of hydraulic presses. The cagelike bins hold groups of cold-pressed objects left ready for the next phase of production. Alessi's facility manufacture fifty-thousand 9090's per year.
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Design is a process–these are models and prototypes that Sapper and Alessi used when developing the 9090.
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alessi caffetiere factory
The factory contains a wide array of hydraulic presses. The cagelike bins hold groups of cold-pressed objects left ready for the next phase of production. Alessi's facility manufacture fifty-thousand 9090's per year.

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