In the fall of 2019, the Italian espresso machine manufacturing company La Marzocco launched Accademia del Caffè Espresso, a cultural hub, research facility, interactive archive, and international visitors center housed in the company’s original mid-century headquarters, high above the city of Florence. The facility sprawls across multiple stories with a rooftop reception area, but when the project opened there were whispers, hints, and rumors of a next step for the project not yet ready to be unveiled to the public. Now here in 2021, the team at La Marzocco is ready to debut Officine Fratelli Bambi, a bespoke espresso machine atelier housed on the ground floor of the historic Accademia building, originally built in 1959.
“Officine Fratelli Bambi is legacy, artistry, and innovation,” states La Marzocco in the new Officine Fratelli Bambi brand book. “It is your unique vision realized without compromise. Whether you are looking to build a fleet of machines or desire a single piece to highlight the ideals of your brand, Officine Fratelli Bambi will bring your vision into reality.” This language reflects the Italian tradition of bespoke tailoring and performance automobiles, connected to espresso by a conceptual through-line evoking Italy’s design and manufacturing heritage. The end result takes two forms:
A special limited-edition line of La Marzocco espresso machines, handmade in Florence at Officine Fratelli Bambi. Consider this the equivalent of made-to-order tailoring The first catalogue machine on offer is the PB Comet, a 3-group machine modeled on the popular La Marzocco Linea PB S.
An entirely custom espresso machine, designed in collaboration with the master artisans of Officine Fratelli Bambi. This is the equivalent of bespoke tailoring, suited directly to the needs and specifications of the client, drawing from La Marzocco’s complete suite of technology, design, and manufacturing expertise.
The lead designer at La Marzocco, Stefano Della Pietra, works closely with the small team at Officine Fratelli Bambi to help oversee the project. An apprentice of the late Piero Bambi, son of La Marzocco founder Giuseppe Bambi, Della Pietra studied alongside the legendary engineer and designer for six years before stepping into his current role. “Florentines are lucky,” says Della Pietra. “We spend our whole lives surrounded by good design. We learn from a young age how shapes, lines, pieces, make something beautiful. The history of art is everywhere in Florence.”
“What we are doing at Officine Fratelli Bambi is not easy,” continues Della Pietra. “But with passion, constantly looking, learning, we can create something exquisite.” The team at Officine Fratelli Bambi includes Lorenzo Carcasci, who for nearly three decades has served as the master welder at La Marzocco—personally hand welding the boilers found in espresso machines worldwide—as well as Lorenzo Santoni, a technical-minded testing specialist in La Marzocco’s Research and Development lab.
As with consulting a master tailor to craft a bespoke garment, each bespoke machine at Officine Fratelli Bambi begins with a conversation, in this case with Stefano Della Pietra. “I try to understand their lives and the space where the machine will live. The design can be inspired by a single idea, a shape, anything really,” Della Pietra tells Sprudge. The end results are limited only by the imagination and will be truly handbuilt, designed from the ground up, by some of the most experienced espresso machine artisan designers and builders currently alive anywhere on the planet.
Quantities for Catalogue Machines from Officine Fratelli Bambi are limited, and inquiries into Officine Fratelli Bambi’s line of bespoke services are available upon request. For details visit the official Officine Fratelli Bambi website.
Jordan Michelman (@suitcasewine) is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Jordan Michelman for Sprudge.
Black and white photography by Sven Hoffman, courtesy La Marzocco.
Disclosure: La Marzocco is an advertising partner on Sprudge Media Network.