Leave it to the Italians: the cuckoo clock has entered the modern. Presented at the often flamboyant 2008 Milan Furniture Fair, Paolino & Fusi's Albero clock is the latest iteration of the Black Forest classic. It is newly available through Momento Italia, a particularly passionate distributor of Italian design based in lower Manhattan known more for modern classics like the round time clock (below) than anything reminiscent or sentimental.
Since the mid 1700s, the cuckoo clock has been a pendulum-driven invention. It imitates the call of the cuckoo bird—which family of birds also includes the roadrunner—at the catharsis of a series of pipes, bellows, and a wire gong. More recently, and in the case of the Paolino & Fusi example, the clock is fueled by a quartz battery using a German-engineered cuckoo system, constructed out of ebonized or wenge wood. The Italians may have modernized it, but the background music keeps to its Black Forest roots. This is a kinder, more sensitive cuckoo: it only deigns to sing during the day. The cuckoo stays quiet at night.