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Alessi 9090: Package

After more than 100 steps, the completed parts are ready for packaging. Workers assemble the upper container, filter funnel, gasket, and boiler in much the same way that the eventual user will put them together at home. The product is placed in a printed cardboard box with a pamphlet about its provenance and its maintenance: The 9090 gets its name as the first product in “Program 9,” Alessi’s historic foray into the field of cookware. Leaving the pot on heat with no water will cause irreparable damage, and it need not be washed with dish soap.

Final assembly begins: Workers at the Alessi factory carefully tap the finished pieces of an upper container together.

The pamphlet does not explain the 9090’s unusual shape. “It seemed like a scandal at the beginning,” says Alessi, “but eventually everyone came around to feeling sure. Actually, Sapper made the shape as an allusion to strength—–to a rocket—–in the sense that it propels a massive upward force. In the machine, when the water boils, steam launches up. It’s an act of power.”

  • <h2><a href="">The 9090</a></h2><p></p>Alessi's iconic 9090, their stovetop espresso-maker, an example of which is housed in the MoMA collection, is assembled by a technician in the factory.<p></p><p></p>Featured

    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. is your online home in the modern world. Join us as we follow our team around the globe on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Want more? Never miss another word of Dwell with our free iTunes app.