I had a few beers with Matt Lounsbury—Stumptown Coffee‘s director of operations—yesterday to catch up on everything from coffee stuff to family news to travel plans. And I was super stoked to hear that Matt is headed to Milan in October for the La Marzocco Out of the Box event, just like I am! But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised: leaders, movers, and shakers in the specialty coffee industry will be traveling from all points on the globe to attend this whopper of a conference-slash-party: really, there’s never been anything like it before.
When La Marzocco’s marketing wizard, Chris Salierno, explained his creative vision for this third Out of the Box Milan event (they have taken place every other year, in conjunction with the massive Host show, since 2009) a few months ago, I really couldn’t even fathom it: there were so many elements, from design to music to fine art to movement to, of course, espresso machines. Chris wanted to bring it all together in a whirling hurricane of creativity and exploration: he wanted to create a forum where the artistic brainiacs that are professional baristas could think about things they’d never considered before, and come to regard coffee and espresso equipment in a whole new light.
The hard and fast line that best describes the conference, which will take place October 18 and 19 in the heart of Milan’s vibrant design district, is that Out of the Box will “explore the intersection of innovation and design within the growing coffee industry as well as celebrate the heritage, leadership, and tradition of La Marzocco.”
“Out of the Box 2013 aims to reach existing, new, and potential customers by creating a meaningful brand experience through the staging of interactive and creative events, as well as share La Marzocco’s lifestyle and culture beyond the industry and set the stage for participation at next year’s Design Week in Milan,” says Chris.
This year’s speakers include Piero Bambi, Francesco Illy, Luca Trazzi, Alessandro Parenti, Sven Hoffman, Raffaelle Sangiovanni, Paul Schilperoord, Maurizio, Rosetti, David Griswold, and Thomas Plattner. Various workshops will be lead on brewing methods, cupping and other hands on coffee experiences. Roberto Bianchi, R&D Director, La Marzocco; Ryan Willbur, Coffee, Education, and Community Manager, La Marzocco USA; Carmelo Di Bartolo, Industrial Designer, Founder of Design Innovation; and Daisy Rollo, Barista Trainer, will also be leading workshops throughout the conference.
Both Piero Bambi and Kent Bakke will attend Out Of The Box. Piero designed La Marzocco’s Linea Classic almost 25 years ago. He is the son of Giuseppe Bambi and the nephew of Bruno Bambi, the brothers who founded La Marzocco in 1927. Now 79 and continuing in his father’s footsteps, Piero has had a hand in the design and engineering of every La Marzocco espresso machine currently in production. Kent Bakke is CEO of La Marzocco International and oversees all of the company’s business including the United States, United Kingdom, Korea and Australia offices. Bakke, together with the R&D team at La Marzocco, continues to push the industry forward in its support of innovation, evolution and design within coffee business and culture.
“Since the first Out of the Box in 2009, our customers have traveled from around the world to attend and learn from one another. Especially today, there is a high degree of attention to detail and high-quality execution in the preparation of espresso coffee with incredible things happening in markets around the world. Out of the Box is a remarkable platform for the global community to come together and learn from one another,” says Kent.
In addition, Out Of The Box will feature collaborative artistic exhibits including “Coffee Shop Of The Future”, an exhibit by students from the European Institute of Design, The Coffee Art Project, The Hoffman Gallery, a collection of celebrated photographers’ work from Sven Hoffman, Jon Contino and George Bates. There will be other collector items on display in exhibition area, a La Marzocco e-store and silent auction to benefit Project Waterfall, which this year will support clean water initiatives in Mbulu, Tanzania.
Out Of The Box is open to the public. Set programming is to be held all day on October 18 and 19. All attendees and interested parties are also invited for a La Marzocco factory headquarters tour on Monday October 21, located just outside of Florence.