Nostalgia hit hard this weekend. It was triggered by my Viscom 5 assignment. "To choose a product that we love, something that inspires us and makes us passionate about product design, think about the feel, the textures, and the overall experience."
I didn't go into art center wanting to be a product designer, so I felt disconnected at first. I thought to myself, I want to do stuff that helps people, on a bigger scale; sustainability, mass transit, just doing beautiful objects wouldn't fulfill me.
The assignment echoed in my head and finally the words "overall experience" took over. I started thinking about the summer I spent in Italy and how magical it was. How simple and beautifully crafted the culture is.
The item that represented my everyday life in Italy was the Moka Pot. I remember arriving on a Tuesday, extremely tired after spending the night in the airport in London, flying into Milano, loosing my backpack in the connection train from centrale to Pavia, having to wait for my backpack to be found, and finally arriving in Pavia 5 hours after expected.
When I arrived I was greeted by who would become a really good friend, Paolo. He showed me around, walked me up to my studio and gave me some space to settle in. He said to get comfortable and that Ippolita, his mother would arrive later and we'd all have dinner together. I could not believe they were letting me stay there for 3 months without paying rent, I felt like the luckiest human alive, and I was.
Ippolita arrived later that night and she made an amazing home cooked meal for the three of us, living up and exceeding the reputation Italian mothers have in the kitchen. We had really nice conversation and then she finally introduced me to what would be my morning ritual, The Moka.
Not only was The Moka with me in the mornings when I had time to myself. It was there when I arrived to "Ill bosco grande", the camp I helped in. It would be there after lunch whether alone or if I had lunch with Paolo or other friends. The Moka would be the warm reminder that I was in Italy and everything was right.
The Moka represents Italy. It is a beautiful device that makes "home-made" espresso. "in casa un espresso come al bar" is what Bialetti would say back in the 30's. But it goes beyond that, it's the personification of a slower paced life that celebrates everything, and the "in vetro" way of drinking it "in glass", shows the appreciation for beauty in simple things such as coffee.
I wrote the following last summer "Time, it goes by slower, people seem to walk without a care in the world. No minute is wasted and though there isn't much to do, every second is different. People are genuinely happy here. They work to live, and not the other way round. They cherish free time because it allows them to spend time, time doing what they enjoy, time with friends, loved ones, spend time alone cultivating their soul. They eat slower, walk slower, and talk faster. All I see is smiles around, hugs, kisses and an overall air of positivity."
The Moka is special because it triggers this very extract every time I use it. And I feel grateful and blessed to have had such warm people make me fall in love with Italy.