In the world of coffee, there is nothing I covet more than new manual brewing gear. No minor change to some already existing device is too insignificant for me to deem it anything less than life changing. So when I first learned of a new-to-me coffee maker running a cool $650, I immediately felt the pangs of purchase lust. Then I actually saw it, this wondrous marvel of coffee making, and well…we have much to discuss.
The brew device in question is the Vesuvio Coffee Maker designed by famed Italian architect Gaetano Pesce, created for high-end homewares company Zani & Zani. Originally designed in 1988 by Pesce, the Vesuvio saw a limited production in 1993 and is now firmly in the realm of the collector’s objet.
How does one describe the Vesuvio? It is somehow, impressively, both stunning and grotesque; it is singular in its duplicity. Measuring 14” tall and 7” wide, the Vesuvio is made of cast iron, aluminum, and resin. It is based on a Neapolitan style of coffee maker, and reminiscent of a marital aid.
In a 1993 New York Times article about Pesce and the Vesuvio, author Susanne Slesin notes:
Mr. Pesce disdains all coffee makers designed and manufactured since the Bauhaus. “Too abstract and formal,” he said. “I wanted an object that talked more to me about reality.” Mr. Pesce feels that the future of design is about “feeling emotion.” “We have to give society something it needs and that people need to develop a relationship with the objects around them.”
This is… reality? It is messy and chaotic—much like our present reality—and comes courtesy of “a design pioneer of the 20th century“, when life was simpler, allegedly. We found a stunning, disturbing Vesuvio available for a cool $650 at Odd Eye in New York City. It turns out that’s actually a very low end price for currently available Vesuvios. There is currently one on Ebay—without packaging—going for $990, and The Modern Archive has a version for as high as $1,200.
I’ll put the questiont to you, Sprudge Reader: What do you think of the Vesuvio Coffee Maker? Is it Butt-Ugly, as we opined in Slack, or is it Butt-Amazing, as we also discussed in Slack? I can’t decide. And so we’d like to continue the discussion Twitter, where all cultural conundrums are arbited, where you can participate in a very scientific poll to help render judgement on the Veusvio.
Is the Vesuvio Coffee Maker butt-ugly or butt-amazing?
— Sprudge (@sprudge) November 20, 2020
Art is what you can get away with, and so is social media, frankly. Pesce himself would be delighted.