Home appliances

Tiny Eco: a coffee machine made from recycled plastic and compostable capsules

The product’s main concept was to create a sustainable and highly compact espresso machine that provides an authentic Italian espresso experience for any household

Among the winners of the DesignWanted Award 2023, within the product design category, there is Tiny Eco, the Lavazza coffee machine designed by Florian Seidl and Angelica Rella, both core members of the company in-house team.

Their design philosophy is centered on creating “Italian product design” that is easily accessible, innovative, and perfectly designed. Collaboration is key to their success, and they are involved in the entire product development process from the initial idea to production.

Florian Seidl (Design Manager) & Angelica Rella (Designer), Lavazza in-house design team

In this interview, we discover more about Florian Seidl and Angelica Rella, as well as the design of the Tiny Eco coffee machine (more info here), which will be showcased in the ‘Innovation for Living’ exhibition at La Cattedrale (Certosa area), during Milan Design Week (17-23 April). The exhibition is co-produced by DesignWanted, Designtech, and Isola Design.

Who are Florian Seidl and Angelica Rella? How did your design journey begin?

Florian Seidl and Angelica Rella:

“We are a core part of the Lavazza in-house design team. Florian Seidl is originally from Austria. After many years as senior exterior designer at Fiat he joined Lavazza and created the compact in-house team from scratch. He is responsible for the corporate design of the group and helped to firmly position Lavazza on the map of modern Italian Design.

Angelica Rella is an Italian designer who joined Lavazza in 2016. Previously she worked at Pininfarina and collaborated with Mitsubishi Electric Europe. Our team is handling most of the design related activities in house. Numerous projects we designed are already on the market and have won quite a few important design awards.”

Tiny Eco by Lavazza, DesignWanted Award 2023 winning project, product design category
Tiny Eco by Lavazza, DesignWanted Award 2023 winning project, product design category

Your company won the DesignWanted Award with Tiny Eco, a coffee machine made from recycled plastic and compostable capsules. How did you come up with this design?

Florian Seidl and Angelica Rella:

“Tiny Eco has just been launched and is replacing a successful product. It’s the smallest member of the A MODO MIO range – basically the baby of the family. The main idea behind the product was the design of an extremely compact and sustainable espresso machine bringing true, authentic Italian espresso experience to any home. In fact, the internal project name was Compact & Sustainable.

At the beginning of the design process, we developed a series of different concepts and ideas – just as we always do. We then moved rather quickly into 3D to check and verify the different proposals against the technical package. In collaboration with our colleagues from Coffee Machines & Systems Development we worked hard to optimize the internal layout and make sure the proposals would be as compact as possible.

Once the main concepts were in place, and we knew they would be feasible on a macro level, we built a series of mock-ups to see and evaluate the design proposals also in real life. This whole phase happened in full lock down due to the pandemic and it was quite challenging to get everything done remotely and converge on the final design. But in the end, we also learned a lot about our process and we’re happy with the result.”

Tiny Eco by Lavazza, DesignWanted Award 2023 winning project, product design category
Tiny Eco by Lavazza, DesignWanted Award 2023 winning project, product design category

How would you describe your design philosophy? What are the aspects that you focus on the most when developing new products?

Florian Seidl and Angelica Rella:

“We are proud to create “Italian product design” in the purest sense of the term. The core principle is that our products must be easily accessible for everyone and at the same time innovative and perfectly designed.

We are forging ahead the tradition of important names such as Olivetti, Brionvega and perhaps Piaggio and Fiat. Lavazza Design takes these heroes of Italian industrial design from the past as benchmarks and follows proudly in their footsteps. We love our products and design them passionately with our hands, minds and hearts.

They are ergonomic and functional, never too technical, and always expressing optimism and great hope. Beautiful and formally well resolved, their surfaces are superbly crafted, with thorough attention to details and quality. The result is a solid design, strong in character yet light-hearted, modern and with a human touch.

Tiny Eco by Lavazza, DesignWanted Award 2023 winning project, product design category

It is an honour and enormous responsibility to work for such a recognised and well-known brand as Lavazza. We work hard to create and maintain our very own design identity and form language through a coherent design approach across multiple channels.”

From an industrial design perspective, which are your vital tools, resources, and methods for you during the design process?

Florian Seidl and Angelica Rella:

“One of the most important aspects is that we work in close collaboration with colleagues from other departments. We are quite a large company, and many skills are necessary to create a successful product. So, collaboration really is key.

Another important aspect: We are involved in the entire product development process, from the initial idea right through to production. This requires a lot of attention and is essential to ensure that the end product is true to the initial concept. Throughout this process, the brand’s Italian identity and it’s open and collaborative soul are at the core and our creative direction aims to tell a coherent story through design, helping to build the brand, project after project.

If you’re more interested in the actual toolset, I’d say it is quite wide-ranging.

Tiny Eco by Lavazza, DesignWanted Award 2023 winning project, product design category
Tiny Eco by Lavazza, DesignWanted Award 2023 winning project, product design category

Inspiration can come from almost everywhere and there are many different online resources as well. It’s important to keep an open mind and see and recognise possibilities when they present themselves. Design-wise, unfortunately, there is not that much old school drawing involved anymore. So, our process is quite streamlined and fast.

Very often the initial research and quick doodles are immediately translated into rough 3D models. This allows for a reality check with the technical constraints at a very early stage. The actual tools we use from a software point of view are Photoshop, Illustrator, Alias for surface modeling and Keyshot for visualization. We always build physical mock-ups to verify the design as well.”

What do you believe are the main trends & future directions, with regards to the home innovations, within product design field and what do you think of them?

Florian Seidl and Angelica Rella:

“Sustainability and smart products are probably two of the most prominent trends right now.  

Sustainability has many different aspects that can be explored in product development. This ranges from modular and circular concepts to recycled materials, energy consumption and packaging/logistics. We worked on many of these aspects during the development of Tiny Eco.

The right to repairability will have a significant impact and there are also interesting ideas in the area of upcycling. In reality the whole concept of sustainability is not new at all. Responsible product design always considered them as part of the process. But fortunately, there is a lot more attention now and there is a great opportunity to have a positive impact and facilitate change.

Smart and connected products have also been around for some time now. In some cases, it is not always easy to understand where the actual benefit for the end user is. However, there can be important added benefits in usability especially for users with special needs. The whole area remains very active, and it will be interesting to see how it evolves.

Tiny Eco by Lavazza, DesignWanted Award 2023 winning project, product design category

Apart from these two macro trends there is a growing need for simplicity and honesty. Life seems to be getting ever more complex and difficult. In times of artificial intelligence and fake news we are looking for joyful user experiences that are solid, real and can be trusted.”

What is the next step for your design team?

Florian Seidl and Angelica Rella:

“In Lavazza we’ll always continue to create products that meet the needs of users and the high quality standards we set ourselves while building on our own identity and heritage. Currently we’re busy working on several different products that should be launched on the market in the near future.

The next immediate step for our small team is the presentation of Tiny Eco at this year’s Salone del Mobile. As you know we’re part of the DesignWanted Award exhibition at La Cattedrale. We’re proud and super happy to be part of this event.”


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