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.
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.”