INVENTING THE FUTURE
The power of imagination
Rheavendors has never been satisfied with simply keeping up with the times: we’ve always been ahead of them. In the past twenty years, Rheavendors’ machines have undergone a drastic restyling focused on functional design, user-friendliness, and quality. Looking to the future, we realised that the vending world needed to be increasingly versatile, with machines dispensing a wider range of quality products, accepting new forms of payment, offering easier and more dynamic interfaces.
So that’s what we did.
Today, our know-how goes far beyond patents and intellectual property: it is our human heritage, a collective treasury of experience, knowledge, and skills that is not meant to be gatekept but passed on and shared.
And above all, it is the imagination that Aldo Majer demonstrated when he turned the knob on that first gumball machine way back in 1960. Since then, we have strived to imagine what comes next, expanding the horizons not only of the vending industry, but also our own. We recently celebrated our 60 years of history with Kairos, an exclusive machine based on an idea by Davide Livermore.
A sustainable commitment
Sustainability has become a core value and a key asset for our company. We are committed to investing in and protecting the environment in order to achieve real sustainability. To this end, we work in full compliance with EU environmental regulations and have gone above and beyond by drafting a Social Accountability Statement in 2008. This document brings structure and visibility to policies that already existed within the company and consolidates our commitment to respect international labor standards – job security, safe and healthy working conditions, the right to a dignified wage – while striving constantly to improve them. We have designed more energy-efficient machines and taken steps to control and minimise the environmental impact of our manufacturing processes, we use materials and resources which can be repurposed, and we have optimised our packaging and shipping processes.
Designing new attitudes
The design of Rhea’s machines has always distinguished us from the competition. Back in 1960, Angelo Mangiarotti, a renowned industrial designer and architect, designed Rheavendors’ first vending machine. That was a turning point, as it set the scene for decades of collaboration with world-class designers who captured the spirit of the time and transformed it into current trends, such as Michele De Lucchi, Angelo Micheli, Massimo Iosa Ghini, Ferruccio Laviani, Bruno Morassuti, Franz Bergonzi, Well Design and Luan Peter Hasnay. We pursued a vision of impeccable design on the outside, and state-of-the-art technology on the inside.
While it’s true that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, there’s no reason why a great book shouldn’t have a beautiful cover. After all, the whole point of good design is to visually communicate the intelligence and functionality of the internal technology, and the quality of the products they dispense.
Making it personal
Throughout the ‘80s, as the culture of coffee continued to grow, so did Rheavendors. At the time, it was easier to find a proper Italian espresso or cappuccino in the break room of a French factory than in a Parisian café. So Rhea decided to embark on a vast territorial expansion, matched only by that of its own beverage menu. We were the first to introduce the innovative concept of “coffee cocktails”, such MoccaCino and latte macchiato, and we offered classy touches such as sprinkles of powdered cocoa on a cappuccino, or hints of milk foam to transform an espresso into a macchiato. Rheavendors showed how automatic retailing can, and should be, a personal matter.
The coffee ritual
Responding to the growing sophistication of the coffee-drinking public, Rheavendors decided to invent and build the first whole-bean espresso vending machine with a built-in grinder. With a focus on design, innovation, and reliability, Rheavendors started selling the new machines at an incredible pace. Bruno Morassuti, designed an elegant espresso machine which landed a place in the permanent collection of New York’s MoMA. The automatic retailing concept was catching on in a world whose increasingly hectic pace demanded that coffee breaks to be both more frequent and more efficient. What better solution, therefore, than a machine that occupied minimal space, looked great, and also provided an opportunity for workers to join in that democratic ritual of chatting over a good cup of coffee?
How it all started
It’s incredible to think how one of the world’s leading coffee machine manufacturers started off with a simple gumball machine. Aldo and Giuliana Majer’s original business was always looking for original ideas to expand their expertise, and one day they decided to prototype a sketch by their friend Angelo Mangiarotti, one of Italy’s first and greatest industrial designers. The result was a masterpiece of mechanical and formal simplicity, a powerful icon of the Italian Sixties: the gumball machine. And so, Rheavendors was born. By 1962, it was already the first Italian manufacturer to offer an integrated range of vending machines for cold post-mix drinks, hot soluble drinks, and packaged snacks. Rheavendors has taught the vending market that automatic retailing is much more than a simple transaction: it’s about trust, values, and above all, family. Our clients can rely on the continuity of vision and moral integrity passed down from the Majer family, who supplied smart and tailor-made machines while respecting the original Italian recipes and traditions.