Moka Pot Gets a Facelift

A Remnant of Postwar Italy

Aside from perhaps the omnipresent Starbucks logo, the Moka pot is probably the most recognizable design symbol in the coffee industry. It is a staple of Italian artistry and a remnant of Italy’s postwar ingenuity and global culinary dominance.

Honored in the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s most popular coffee maker, the Moka pot has become a commonplace to the point of ubiquity not only in Italy but in Cuba, Argentina, Australia, and the United States

Bialetti’s Vision

The Moka pot was crafted in 1933 by Italian metalsmith Alfonso Bialetti, following heightened weaponry production during WWII and an itch for something new. Bialetti’s vision for the pot was a stark reflection of the state Europe during the war. The three-chamber, faceted, aluminum pot, was as simple, yet functional, as the accessories used for combat.

The New Moka

Over the course of it’s nearly 9 decade history, designers have taken on the challenge to reimagine the design of the Moka pot. British architect, David Chipperfield has become the latest designer to alter the iconic device for Alessi. In contrast to the many redesigns that have come before, Chipperfield’s design salvages the adored qualities of the pot’s original form. Chipperfields’s version is much more of an homage to Bialetti’s vision.

I wanted to preserve its most important qualities: the material, the sound, the essential shape of its corners.

“The noise of screwing and unscrewing it, the rumbling sound it makes when the coffee’s ready, these everyday occurrences become ingrained in your memories…My idea was to do something that would intensify these memories; not to invent a coffee maker but to re-intensify the history of this object, which, in my opinion is a kind of archetype with its own,” Chipperfield writes for Alessi.

Chipperfield’s Moka preserves the aluminum faceting of the original design, but increases the count from 8 to 11. This change gives the spout its own flat edge, and rounds out the silhouette. A flat lid is attached to support heated cups atop – allowing optimum enjoyment of the aroma. While the knob is designed to allow users to easily raise the lid with one hand.

On one hand, it’s questionable to buy an Alessi-model Moka pot, considering the original Bialetti company has been having financial troubles amidst increased demand for high-pressure, electric espresso makers–and Starbucks.

On the other, it’s a beautiful homage to the original design. The Chipperfield Moka starts at $35 for a one-cup version and peaks at $55 for the six-cup model. They’re currently available for purchase on Alessi’s official website.

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