Meet Ryan Valentino, the maestro of light and coffee who’s cleverly united these two passions in the form of “Nola”, an espresso van business that embodies sustainability at its heart.

In the bustling world of lighting design, one name stands out like a radiant beacon – Electrolight. With offices in Melbourne, Sydney, and San Francisco, this award-winning independent lighting design consultancy has left an indelible mark on the world with its stunning creations, from the iconic Cube in San Francisco to the heritage facades of Olderfleet in Melbourne. But this story doesn’t end there – Meet Ryan Valentino, a lighting designer at Electrolight, whose passion for creating mesmerizing lighting designs is only rivaled by his love for crafting the perfect cup of coffee. Enter his delightful side project – Nola, an espresso van business that embodies sustainability at its heart.

Nola isn’t your average coffee van. It’s a family-owned business on a mission to serve specialty coffee with a side of sustainability. Picture this: a charming Japanese import EV kei van that’s not only quirky and eye-catching but also 100% electric, emitting zero pollution and embracing the art of quietude. Nola’s kei van proudly runs on renewable energy, a commitment to Australia’s emissions targets that are as strong as the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.

Ryan’s vision for Nola goes beyond just serving delicious coffee. It’s about sustainability from the ground up – or rather, from the bean to the cup. Nola’s operations are powered by a custom battery system, ensuring that every sip of coffee is guilt-free in terms of energy consumption. The van’s interior is a testament to their dedication – locally sourced materials, from coffee beans to milk and compostable cups, contribute to a greener planet. Even the leftovers play a part – coffee grounds and wastewater find new life in Ryan’s garden.

Ryan’s belief in sustainable innovation isn’t just about coffee; it’s a call to action for a better world for us and our progeny. Nola stands as a beacon of hope, proving that businesses can blend profitability with planet-friendly practices.

Ryan’s journey from lighting design to coffee craft wouldn’t be complete without a touch of his passion for illumination. And that’s where Casambi comes in. A true Casambi fan, Ryan has seamlessly integrated the lighting of his coffee van with Casambi control. With this smart technology, he orchestrates the perfect ambiance for his customers, all while adhering to a sustainable lighting strategy that minimizes energy usage by illuminating only when necessary.

There are two Casambi control units hidden behind the driver’s seat to control high-output LED strips. During the construction phase, it was crucial to integrate the LED strips in the van and joinery whilst complementing the van aesthetics. Ryan carefully removed the car interior headliner and mounted the LED strips behind it to accentuate the honeycomb texture and the gray fabric to soften the overhead lighting. Inside the power station, RGBW LED strips also allow Nola to showcase its brain during coffee events at exhibitions for guests to admire the innovative technology.

The wireless control modules also allow Ryan to control the lights individually and only use the right amount of light during coffee service and maintenance at the end of the day. All the power consumed within the van from the power station is monitored from the 5-inch display and at the same time uploaded to the cloud for data management purposes. This is available publicly and accessible by the local council in order for Nola to achieve its sustainability goals.

Nola isn’t just a coffee van – it’s a beautifully discreet testament to the power of innovation, dedication, and the belief that a brighter future is possible. So, if you’re lucky enough to savor a cup of Nola’s exquisite coffee, remember that it’s not just the coffee beans that went into making it extraordinary. It’s the passion of a lighting designer turned coffee maven, his commitment to sustainability, and the brilliant touch of Casambi control (of course) that truly make Nola a sip of hope in a big world craving change.

You can follow Ryan and Nola on Instagram @coffeeatnola and do check out their website

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