Casa 1895 is a unique visitor experience integrated into the real, working, state-of-the-art factory where Lavazza’s new specialty 1895 coffee is made. In line with the brand values of 1895 as a premium coffee, the Casa 1895 experience takes visitors through the multi-sensory process of coffee design – from the origins of 1895 coffee beans around the world; to the advanced processes that transform the beans into the perfect cup; to cutting-edge research and innovation; and finally to the intimate, unforgettable experience of tasting the highest quality coffee. The Lavazza 1895 coffee factory is located in Settimo Torinese, Italy. The 1960s factory building was renovated and redeveloped in 2019 to create an advanced new factory dedicated primarily to the production of 1895 coffee. The Casa 1895 visitor experience was developed in tandem with the architectural refurbishment of the building and the design of the factory fit-out, so that the visitor experience is truly integrated into the workings of this new factory environment.
One of the main challenges was integrating the experience within a real, working factory. We worked closely with Lavazza’s teams and the project architect to ensure the visitor experience was seamlessly and safely woven into the working environment. Considerations included: integrating interpretation into a raised walkway to keep visitors clear of the factory floor; preserving open views across the factory to enable visitors to witness the full scale and connectivity of the coffee-making process; and wherever possible, bringing visitors up close to machines and processes, using interpretive panels to frame views.
We also developed the Coffee Cave tasting space to be simultaneously elegant, functional and flexible. For this space, considerations included: incorporating media in an atmospheric way that added to the experience without distracting from a focused tasting; caffelier operated tasting table dome projections from an iPad, and acoustic control for events; and detailed optimization and iteration of the tasting tables to allow for comfortable seated height, ergonomic working height for the caffelier, and services and plumbing for coffee preparation.
Another key challenge was to address different levels of knowledge and understanding in the audience groups. The main focus of interpretation within the visitor experience needed to be for the ‘Passionates’ – the most knowledgeable of the three target audience groups – as they represent the core audience for the experience. This meant that our primary interpretation could not be overly simplified, especially in terms of explaining the coffee production process itself, as Passionate visitors are already deeply familiar with this. However, at the same time, we needed to ensure that we did not alienate the ‘Seduced’ – our enthusiastic but less knowledgeable ‘entry level’ audience – with too much in-depth technical detail, and we also needed to help them build their knowledge of coffee production, tasting and flavors.
The 1895 brand sits within the specialty coffee market, which is dominated by artisanal brands that tend to use small scale, hand-made and crafted approaches as a marker of credibility. In contrast, 1895 is “Lavazza’s interpretation of specialty coffee”: premium quality coffee made by a large brand using state-of-the-art technology. The 1895 brand approach is based on authenticity and honesty: rather than pretending to be a small-scale crafted brand, 1895 embraces the incredible quality that can be achieved by bringing the heritage, expertise, innovation and resources of a major international brand to develop a premium product. The 1895 brand promise is to offer a more accessible approach to sophistication, simplifying the complex ‘codes’ of speciality coffee flavors and aromas to engage a wider audience and expand the market.
Closely aligned to the 1895 brand identity, our design for the Casa 1895 visitor experience established the brand’s experiential design language. The design blends together two things: the authentic, industrial character of the real working factory with the elegant, contemporary look and feel of the 1895 brand. The design makes a clear experiential distinction between the visitor experiences that were ‘beyond’ the factory and those that were embedded in the factory environment.
The Expeditions chapter deliberately transports visitors to other countries and to the natural world by creating enclosed, ‘black box’ spaces that are rich with immersive media, light and sound. Similarly, the Sensation chapter in the Coffee Cave is an enveloping, intimate experience with an evocative sensory atmosphere that invites visitors to fully focus on the coffee tasting.
In the Transformation chapter, the design approach changes to place the emphasis on the real, working factory environment itself. Letting the factory ‘speak’, the design takes a light-touch approach by using suspended panels that frame key views and machines, and enable the sounds and sights of the factory to come to the fore.
To address the audience engagement, we created three layers of interpretation. The Primary layer provides a clear explanation of how each factory process contributes to creating the taste and qualities of 1895 coffee specifically – information that is new and interesting for both ‘Passionates’ and ‘Seduced’. The Secondary layer has two key components. Large-scale Process Detail panels provide detailed technical information to engage the Passionates, speaking to their high level of existing expertise. Vivid, friendly People Story media screens explain the coffee-making process in a simpler way through the eyes of Lavazza’s coffee designers, technicians and researchers to the Seduced, helping them to build their knowledge and understanding. The Tertiary layer includes personalized Coffee Notes notebooks to help Seduced visitors follow the coffee-making process as they walk around the factory and provide them with a place to record their own thoughts.
The design of the project successfully met the communication goals of the client by embodying the 1895 brand. It conveyed the technical detail behind the creation of the 1895 flavor profile, which makes the coffee unique and distinctive. It also emphasized the highest level of quality at each step of the coffee production process, which reinforces the brand’s credibility as a specialty coffee. The project underlined the authenticity of the real, working factory conveys the wider reach of Lavazza as a global brand, while successfully addressing the needs of different target audience groups.
Visitor quotes (collected by Lavazza): • “A truly immersive experience which allowed me to understand the journey of coffee production from the farming to the consumption stage.” • “1895’s experiential factory proves the brand’s dedication and attention to detail when it comes to green coffee sourcing, bean selection and roasting.” • “State of the art equipment, knowledgeable personnel and passionate coffeliers made this experience unforgettable.” • “In 1895’s factory, superior coffee quality is coupled with an easy to follow, inspiring factory visit touching upon all senses: smell, sound, taste and feel.” • ”Craftsmanship, passion for the raw material and consumer experience would be the three words I would use to describe 1895 and its state of the art factory.”