Time Traveling with Unic

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When the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE) announced that its annual conference for 2013 would be held in Nice, France, the staff from Unic espresso machines jumped for joy. Why? Because unlike its competition—most of whose headquarters are in Italy—Unic is based in the French Riviera, just down the street, in fact, from the Acropolis convention center in Nice where the SCAE show would take place.

Due to this proximity to the boutique espresso machine company’s home and factory, Unic pulled out all the stops for its exhibition space at the SCAE show, building a gigantic cafe space that had the most beautiful boundaries: the entire layout was lined with antique espresso machines dating back to 1919, when the company was founded.

Because coffee people are stylish and design-minded by nature, thousands lingered at the Unic space to admire the machines. To add to the effect, a timeline tracing the company’s evolution was laid out on the floor in front of the machines.

If you haven’t seen the machines, we’re bringing them to you with this post. So sit back and enjoy…

Normally housed in Unic's showroom at its Nice factory, all of these antique espresso machines were brought to the Acropolis convention center in Nice for the SCAE show.

Normally housed in Unic’s showroom at its Nice factory, all of these antique espresso machines were brought to the Acropolis convention center in Nice for the SCAE show.

After visitors had viewed all of the machines, they were invited into Unic's booth for an espresso.

After visitors had viewed all of the machines, they were invited into Unic’s booth for an espresso.

The display of Unic's antique espresso machines made the Unic booth a highlight of the SCAE show.

The display of Unic’s antique espresso machines made the Unic booth a highlight of the SCAE show.

SCAE attendees would find Unic espresso machines throughout the bistros and bars in Nice.

SCAE attendees would find Unic espresso machines throughout the bistros and bars in Nice.

Unic has always successfully produced both commercial and artistic espresso machines.

Unic has always successfully produced both commercial and artistic espresso machines.

Slight color and style differentiations marked the passing of time.

Slight color and style differentiations marked the passing of time.

n display at Unic's SCAE booth in Nice, Framce, June 26–28.

n display at Unic’s SCAE booth in Nice, Framce, June 26–28.

Commercial machines alongside boutique units.

Commercial machines alongside boutique units.

Unic's affair with levers.

Unic’s affair with levers.

The way the logo changed over the years was of particular interest.

The way the logo changed over the years was of particular interest.

The timeline on the floor made sense of the parade of espresso machines.

The timeline on the floor made sense of the parade of espresso machines.

Unic's boutique Stella di Caffe is at the heart of the Barista Nation events.

Unic’s boutique Stella di Caffe is at the heart of the Barista Nation events.

An array of experimental single group machines were within the exhibition.

An array of experimental single group machines were within the exhibition.

Lined up chronologically, the antique espresso machines at Unic's SCAE booth traced the major design and style ages of the 20th century.

Lined up chronologically, the antique espresso machines at Unic’s SCAE booth traced the major design and style ages of the 20th century.

Many of Unic's employees have been with the company for upwards of 20 years.

Many of Unic’s employees have been with the company for upwards of 20 years.

Unic was founded in 1919.

Unic was founded in 1919.

The parade of antique Unic espresso machines on display during the SCAE show in June.

The parade of antique Unic espresso machines on display during the SCAE show in June.

Unic's booth at the SCAE show—can you can it a booth? It was more like a gallery/cafe.

Unic’s booth at the SCAE show—can you can it a booth? It was more like a gallery/cafe.

Unic's espresso machines show a distinctive art deco phase.

Unic’s espresso machines show a distinctive art deco phase.

Unic was founded in 1919, and is still owned and operated by the same family.

Unic was founded in 1919, and is still owned and operated by the same family.

These machines are usually housed in the gallery space at Unic's headquarters in Nice, France.

These machines are usually housed in the gallery space at Unic’s headquarters in Nice, France.

Antique espresso machines by Unic.

Antique espresso machines by Unic.

Unic espresso machines on display at the SCAE show in Nice, June 26–28. Note the timeline tracing Unic's history on the floor.

Unic espresso machines on display at the SCAE show in Nice, June 26–28. Note the timeline tracing Unic’s history on the floor.

 

 

 

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.