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© Felix Bielmeier/ GRASSI Museum für Angewandte Kunst
© Felix Bielmeier/ GRASSI Museum für Angewandte Kunst

The classic Italian caffetiera from Bialetti has been popular far beyond the borders of Italy for a long time. In 2023, the octagonal aluminium moka pot celebrated its ninetieth birthday. In the 1920s, the brothers Camillo, Cezaro and Alfonso Bialetti produced aluminium household items in their workshops in northern Italy. Alfonso’s son Renato took over the family business, and after the technical problems in manufacturing the percolator-based pot were solved, Bialetti launched the “Moka Express”, made entirely of aluminium, on the market in 1933. To date, around 300 million units of the Caffetiera, which can be used almost anywhere, have been sold worldwide. In order to outdo the competition, the controversial entrepreneur kept producing new versions and copies of his product, showing little interest in keeping records, prototypes and other archive material.

In order to fill the resulting design-historical gap, the artist David Bergé, who lives in Athens and Brussels, began collecting Bialetti machines in ruins near the factory, at second-hand markets and in flagship stores. Under the title “A Bialetti Catalogue”, the Grassimuseum in Leipzig is showing a selection of his finds in a small foyer exhibition until 18 February. Bergé has also presented his idea of a possible Bialetti catalogue in book form. The publication, published by Spector books in Leipzig, provides an insight into the precision engineering manufacturing processes, drawing on statements from the industrialist’s family, former factory workers, secretaries and trade union representatives.

A Bialetti Catalogue – Collection David Bergé
02.11.23 – 18.02.24
GRASSI Museum für Angewandte Kunst

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