Barcelona – He won’t name names, but designer Andreu Carulla still remembers overhearing the conversation between the top executive of a leading coffee-machine manufacturer and his team at the launch event for Iberital’s Vision. ‘He went up to it and told the designers and the engineers: “See? This is how you design a coffee machine!”’
Several industry professionals agree with that flummoxed Iberital competitor. In fact, Vision has earned the Catalonian company several accolades just a couple of months after its release, from the Green Good Design Award and the A’Design Award to the EID Award. Why? Because it has basically reimagined and diversified the functionalities of the commercial espresso maker, while providing answers to sustainability questions other companies even failed to consider.
See? This is how you design a coffee machine!
Girona-based Carulla is the mind behind the machine’s streamlined design and its elegant blend of functionality and smart technology. With this commission, Iberital threw a loaded gauntlet: Can a machine whose process is basically set in stone be reimagined? The team at Andreu Carulla ACID responded with ways to make extraction a more efficient, intuitive, healthier and sustainable action.
For starters, Vision has neither screens nor buttons, but a simple joystick system that allows for manual control of the brewing process, turning it into a more affective and gestural experience. ‘It’s like interacting with a friend,’ explained Carulla. ‘You don’t do it by pushing buttons, but by patting them on the back. We have consciously reduced the distractions for the barista and created a result that is precise in its outcome.’
The tendency has always been to give consumers an unmodifiable product based on what the manufacturer thought they needed… but we are seeing a new tendency that calls for customization
But even though it appears analogue from the outside, its inside is thoroughly fine-tuned for custom use: baristas can control temperature, pressure and the amount of water used in every delivery and create signature, personalized coffee brew recipes that can be shared via internet connectivity. Why reinvent the wheel? Because, as the design team discovered, companies had ignored the market’s desire for too long. ‘The tendency has always been to give consumers an unmodifiable product based on what the manufacturer thought they needed,’ the Spanish designer stated. ‘We are seeing a new tendency that calls for customization, to make something more personal and more apt for the space it lives in.’