In Florence, the mural machine of Victoria Arduino. A unique object, a century-old patent that becomes an artwork
It’s a warm summer day on Friday, August 4th, 1922, the same day Pier Teresio Arduino presents for the first time under the society La Victoria Arduino Società Anonima, the patent request “Mural machine for espresso coffee preparation.”
This novel invention is the beginning of a principal historical object. The mural machine is attached directly to the walls of the shop, powered by the direct water supply, and actioned through a manual lever that activates the piston pump. The machine’s design quickly evolved into something even more notable where only the group portafilters are in sight for the public while the actual mechanics of the device lie behind the adjacent wall.
Eight years later, this wondrous patent finds itself sitting in the grand hall of the Artemio Franchi stadium of Florence. It is Engineer Pier Luigi Nervi, one of the all-time Italian masterminds in architecture, that actualizes the project of the sports facility. In the Florentine stadium, Nervi constructs an arrangement that was full of innovation and futuristic elements for the time, just like the canopy without middle supports and the installation in 1931 of the Victoria Arduino mural machine along with the open-sky grandstands and chambers under the parterre, still installed presently. Twenty-four groups occupy the extended counter more than ten meters long, where more than one thousand coffees are brewed in only an hour. The group heads are installed on a prominent wall made of Marquina Black marble: a natural stone extracted from Spanish caves with striations of white and grey. Correctly functioning up until the 1990s, the Victoria Arduino mural machine becomes the object of everyday use and is omnipresent for sporting events in Florence and continues to be a unique piece of history admired from an architectural and esthetical point of view.
Almost 90 years later, the Victoria Arduino mural machine is still installed in the Florentine stadium and confirms how the genius and creativity of humankind can overcome time and trends.