Built from the Grounds Up: Lavazza Remains a Leader in Coffee and Sustainability with New LED Sign

 Lavazza may be a global brand known for its amazing coffee products, but at its core it remains a family business. Originally established in 1895, Lavazza has grown into one of the largest coffee retailers in the world, and multiple generations of the Lavazza family are still involved with the business.

A long history of sustainability

In addition to maintaining the impeccable quality of the coffee products, members of the Lavazza family have a commitment to sustainability that has been with the brand for decades. Founder Luigi Lavazza was heavily influenced to focus on sustainable practices after seeing the sheer volume of wasted coffee crops during a visit to South America in 1935. These eco-friendly practices have taken many forms over the years, including a current line of coffee called ¡Tierra!, which is ethically sourced. All ¡Tierra! coffee must be grown on farms that meet strict standards of conservation and provide workers with rights such as access to housing and medical care.

This effort is just the tip of the iceberg, as Lavazza has a number of corporate initiatives centered around sustainability. For example, as shown in its 2018 Sustainability Report, 100% of the electrical energy used in its Italian and French manufacturing plants came from renewable sources. Lavazza also helped to launch Coffee&Climate, which studies the effects of climate change on coffee growers and aims to find tools to respond to these issues.

"At Lavazza, we are committed to the development of a sustainable future and are charting a course to provide actionable solutions that tackle the sustainability challenges of today while also looking ahead toward the challenges that may be present tomorrow," said Davide Riboni, CEO of Lavazza North America, in a 2019 press release.

Lavazza Sign


More efficient brand signage

So, it is no surprise that sustainability was a major concern when the brand was looking to update the old neon signage that sits atop of its Italian headquarters in Turin. Lavazza knew it would have to find a way to convey its strong reputation and live up to its famous logo even with new LED channel letters, but it didn’t want to do so at the expense of its ethical practices. Verbax, a leading distributor of lighting products in Italy, stepped in to help with the project and provide expertise to ensure that marrying sustainability and quality was top of mind.

Matteo Cavallari, Managing Director at Verbax, was a key player in designing the new sign and selecting the products that would power the massive display. He needed something that would be able to light the massive channel letters for the city to see, all while balancing its energy efficiency. The products also had to be reliable, as the letters were being placed at the top of a tall building via cranes and would be difficult to work on should failures occur or maintenance be necessary.

In accordance with the sign maker Vitaliano Mantovani, Condor Pubblicità CEO, Cavallari chose Tetra PowerMAX for the imposing letters. Efficiency set the PowerMAX apart from its competitors: The plan was for the Lavazza sign to be visually imposing, and to achieve this from such a great height meant that it would need to be massive, so using less efficient LED solutions would have been a considerable waste of energy and money. But the Current signage system used OptiLens™ X, a patented GE technology that maximizes performance by capturing otherwise wasted light and redirecting it towards the illuminated surface and allowing the sign maker to use fewer modules to light the letters. It was also available in 24V instead of the 12V prevalent in the industry, providing even more energy efficiency.

Lavazza Sign

A beacon of success

In total, 1,358 LED modules were used for the Lavazza channel letters, with 356 alone in the giant center “A.” That was also the tallest of the letters, measuring almost 8 meters high (approximately 25 feet)—slightly larger than the others in order to mimic the famous Lavazza logo.

“The sign maker was surprised that they were able to achieve such grandeur with fewer modules and lines to populate a letter of that size,” Cavallari said. “But they were very happy. Everything works perfectly, as planned.”

Lavazza LED vs Neon

Replacing the old neon lights with LED channel letters resulted in a much brighter sign. Not only do the LEDs succeed in better illuminating the Lavazza name, but it’s also helping the brand reduce maintenance on the letters—a factor that is critical considering the placement atop a high rise.

“Maintenance with the neon was problematic, especially if we had to change something like a power supply or a driver, and because this sign is so big and so high, it’s very hard to perform work on it,” Cavallari explained. The new LEDs are changing that outlook. “Now we anticipate a low failure rate.”

With the updated LED signage lighting from Current and the support of Verbax, Lavazza can continue to be a beacon of success and sustainability—not to mention stellar coffee.

To learn more about signage solutions from GE Current, a Daintree company, contact us today.

Distributor: Verbax Lighting Solutions Italy

Sign maker: Condor Pubblicità

To learn more about how brand signage impacts the bottom line, download Current's latest whitepaper: Following the Signs: Brand and the Bottom Line.