Italian espresso machine giant La Marzocco has launched the Officine Fratelli Bambi (OFB), a custom machine design studio within the company’s coffee academy and innovation hub (the Accademia del Caffè Espresso) outside Florence.
Referencing the company’s original name in 1927, Officine Fratelli Bambi has been created to allow the brand to flex its creative and technological muscles for limited-edition and customized espresso machinery.
The brand is currently rolling out two categories of machines from the OFB, one dubbed “Catalog” and the other dubbed “Bespoke.”
Catalog machines feature completed designs, with expedited ordering and delivery at fixed prices. These machines are based upon the core features and technology of existing La Marzocco models, yet are given creative aesthetic treatment under the lead of La Marzocco designer Stefano Della Pietra.
“That’s our way of simplifying the design process,” La Marzocco Global Product Manager Scott Guglielmino told Daily Coffee News. “We have a production capacity, but we don’t want to speak in terms of it being a limited edition or a fixed number of machines. Instead, the machines are going to come and go as we find designs we love.”
CAD files for all new Catalog machines will be saved for reproduction and service purposes, while inner workings under the hood will be serviceable with standard existing LM parts.
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The first Catalog machine to come forth is the Comet PB, which is aesthetically inspired by the 1950s-era La Marzocco Comet machine and built upon the tech and features of a 3-group Linea PB. Guglielmino said the list price for the Comet PB will be somewhere in the neighborhood of US$40,000.
The OFB Catalog line is expected to grow to about five or six designs available at any given time. Next could come a jazzed-up GS3, a kooky KB90, or some other result of Della Pietra’s flights of fancy, according to Guglielmino.
Machines in the Bespoke category, meanwhile, may take any form whatsoever, constrained only by the limits of imagination and finances.
“We’re inviting customers to spend time with [Della Pietra] and create the machine of their dreams,” said Guglielmino. “Really the only boundaries are budget and what is technologically possible for us to produce.”
As the popularity of aftermarket espresso machine design customization has surged in recent years, La Marzocco may find a welcome commercial audience for unique machines that might serve as statement pieces atop a coffee shop’s bar.
“It’s probably one of the coolest things we’ve done, ever,” Guglielmino said of the OFB endeavor. “From the start of the company all the way through time, we’ve been hand-making machines, but a lot of that work has been on prototypes and R&D — things that customers haven’t seen. While we still hand-assemble all the machines here, having something that has that extraordinary level of craftsmanship in it is something that basically went into our internal prototypes. We decided it was time to be able to scale that, and offer that to customers around the world.”