Pioneering functionality and design20/04/2015
Mr Göltenboth, how did your team manage to ensure the process reliability of a fully automated machine when developing the portafilter?
FG: By automating all the steps that require any special expertise and practice. The machine grinds the fresh beans and tamps the powder; the most important brewing parameters are regulated by the software and the portafilter is automatically detected. All the operator needs to do is insert the portafilter, press a button and wait for barista-quality espresso to be dispensed. This is what we refer to as “Handmade. Automatically.”
Mr Bockwoldt, what functional requirements did you have to contend with when designing the new machine?
PB: Our aspiration was clearly formulated: to create perfectly brewed espresso made from freshly ground beans using a semi-automatic machine that guarantees process reliability. Combined with conventional portafilters, the cooled bean hopper concealed beneath the adjustable cup tray emulates the appearance of a traditional, classic barista espresso machine. And last but not least, the touch display and embedded intelligence reinforce the goal of transporting a classic appliance into the modern world and enabling flawless operation. Thus allowing anyone to become a barista in no time at all.
Mr Starczewski, you were tasked with designing a completely new generation of coffee machines for WMF – without compromising the design cosmos of the brand. What were the main challenges that you and your team faced during this assignment?
TS: In terms of design, the challenge was to create a synthesis of tradition and modernity, while incorporating the existing key visuals of the WMF brand that have been around for many years. So we developed a contemporary design language that combines modernity and technological leadership with the flair of a traditional portafilter. We focused on clear lines, high-quality materials and a real love for detail.
WMF coffee machines are recognisable around the world. How did you integrate the existing design language into the new machine era?
TS: Defining the basic shape played a pivotal role in this regard. In principle, it can be said that the familiar WMF style world incorporates clear, geometrical and tight basic shapes. The shape is largely defined by the function. There is no place in this design concept for trendy add-on design elements that are technically random and have no function.
How is the value of WMF expressed in the design?
TS: Through the optimum and intuitive ease of use, the high-quality materials and the perfect balance between stainless steel, glass and plastic surfaces. And let’s not forget the deliberately designed 3D and graphical details or the surfaces — the glossy brewing group set against a matt background or the distinctive steam control knob made of solid metal, for example. All of these elements represent striking USPs that communicate visually with onlookers, forming a connection between them and the espresso machine.
As a commercial coffee machine, the WMF Espresso is considered an investment item. What design trends do you see in this environment?
TS: Unlike investment goods in the manufacturing industry, our coffee machines are widely promoted in the consumer sector. I believe that two trends will emerge here – fully-automated machines and semi-automated machines. The less specialist knowledge people have of machine operation in the future, the more self-explanatory machines need to be. Both trends open up a myriad of opportunities for us as designers. The WMF Espresso is an integral part of two worlds: the traditional world of manually operated portafilter machines and the automated world of the future. Both worlds call for user-optimised, emotionally appealing products: a real “centrepiece” in the room that is extremely fascinating – just like the WMF Espresso.
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About the WMF Group
For more than 160 years, the brands that make up the WMF Group have represented the best in cooking, drinking and dining. Every day, hundreds of millions of people around the world use WMF, Silit and Kaiser products to prepare food, cook, bake, eat and drink in the comfort of their own home. And when they are not doing that, they are enjoying coffee specialities and foods prepared by the hotel and catering industry using products from WMF, Schaerer or Hepp. Our employees are passionate about bringing people together, whether at home, on the move or at high-end restaurants, in order to give them shared moments that are both precious and delicious. This is all possible thanks to our products, whose exceptional design, perfect functionality and highest quality provide wonderful culinary experiences. Our company has a proud tradition, and was founded in Geislingen an der Steige in Germany back in 1853. Almost 6,000 employees provide culinary joy at more than 40 locations worldwide. The WMF Group achieved sales of EUR 1,024.3 million in 2014.
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