The cactus is a plant well-known for its miraculous ability to gather and store moisture in the driest places. In tales, it is the precious water from these prickly plants that saves the traveler in need. Leave it to Ottone Meloda, the Italian Kitchen faucet designers, to draw the connection between the cactus and their own specialty products.

Designed for the company by famed Italian designer Aldo Cibic in 2005, the Cactus Kitchen Faucet immediately evokes the iconic profile of the saguaro cactus. These tall cacti are native to Mexico and the American southwest, and are known for their distinct form: a tall central trunk, with arms growing from the side, curved upwards.

The Cactus Kitchen Faucet deftly mimics it’s namesake in clean stainless steel lines. For the trunk, you have a tall spout rising a good 6 inches before curving forward and down. The arms are represented by unconventional vertical levers in place of the usual horizontal screw style Kitchen faucet controls. These levers are arranged alongside the spout like the arms of the saguaro, with perpendicular curves providing a striking profile.

A wall-mounted fixture version is less like a cactus, and more like a horned creature. The vertical levers are retained, but the spout by nature of placement now protrudes forward between them. The effect is reminiscent of a horned steer. This cleverly aligns with the desert motif, losing none of the power or iconography of the upright configuration.

The design is clean an unadorned, relying on the form itself to make the visual statement. The steel is smooth with a chrome like finish. Every element is cylindrical, with flat cut ends. The overall style is contemporary, with a very modern feel.

According to statements issued by the Cibic Design Workshop, the aim was to provide a strong image utilizing a simple shape. Cibic wanted a kitchen faucet that was both fun and intuitive to use, hence the lever style controls. Even though they are unusual, their function and method of operation is obvious. The novelty of interacting with a kitchen faucet in a fresh way provides a pleasurable experience.

As stated, this is a contemporary design. It would be best deployed in bathrooms or kitchens with minimalist style notes. Stainless steel basins will pair well with the Cactus Kitchen Faucet, but a creative way to lean into the theme would be to use a natural stone basin. Either way, because of the height of the spout you’ll want a deep basin to avoid splashing.

Green color accents could also subtly highlight the cactus connection, reflecting in the finish of the kitchen faucet for a life-like sheen. To draw more attention to the elements of form, choose complementary fixtures that also focus on vertical orientation and cylindrical shapes.

Regardless of how you choose to showcase this kitchen faucet, it is a unique and visually striking take on tap design. Finding it now, 15 years after its initial release, may be a challenge. It may be available at aftermarket retailers or resellers. Interested parties should contact Ottone Meloda directly.