Designer Michele de Lucchi has collaborated with Alessi and illycaffè in creating a new espresso maker dedicated to coffee lovers. From sculptural design to unparalleled technology, each detail in the new Pulcina espresso maker was carefully considered to create the perfect cup of coffee.
The experts at Illy’s R&D Laboratory identified some important changes to be made to the espresso maker that would reduce, and nearly eliminate, the so-called “Stromboli-volcano effect” that is common to all espresso makers on the market today. The result is as perfect a cup of coffee at home as you can get at the neighborhood café.
– Alberto Alessi
Informed by illycaffè’s findings, the shape of Pulcina is ideal for enhancing the full-bodied aromatics and rich taste of the coffee it produces. The curvilinear shape ensures precise temperature and pressure control, so that Pulcina automatically stops filtering the grounds at the exact right moment to prevent any bitterness, and extract the purest and most intense flavour possible.
The narrow “waist” of the design hints at this process taking place inside. The stepped effect on the exterior is the result of the alternating thickness of the aluminum, which creates the necessary cooling and heating effects.
The design of the handle is highly ergonomic, placed at the perfect distance from the body to prevent burning when holding it. The handle and ball grip are made of thermoplastic resin to eliminate any possibility of burning. The spout, reminiscent of a baby chick’s beak, is faultlessly shaped to cut drops when pouring.
The name “Pulcina” comes from the vessel’s resemblance to a chick, which is “pulcino” in Italian. As “caffettiera” is a female word in Italian, it became “Pulcina” in a play on words that references its function, appropriate for Alessi’s famous cheerful spirit. As fate would have it, the studio where De Lucchi sketched the plans for Pulcina housed hens, roosters, and chicks before the designer’s birth.
Pulcina is available in 1, 3, and 6-cup versions, in aluminum with a red or black handle or ball grip.
De Lucchi has also designed a tray for Alessi, Le cerchie, which repeats a similar stepped motif around its edge, creating the outer boundary of the piece in concentric circles. Recalling a classical amphitheater, the items placed at the center become actors on a stage of stainless steel, or white epoxy resin. These colours were chosen by De Lucchi for their contrasting effects on light and shadow. Its generous proportions make it suitable as a centerpiece, and ideal for pairing with Pulcina for an impeccable coffee service.
*All images and information courtesy of Alessi.