The Italian design, in appliances for cooking, is very appreciated abroad not only for the refinement of its style, but also because it is the expression of a unique culture in the world, made of excellence, quality and innovation
by Elena Corti
Refinement, taste and high quality: this is Made-in-Italy, whose products reflect the culture and lifestyle of a country where beauty is at home. But how is Italian design considered abroad, when we are speaking of home appliances for cooking, and of which values is it an expression? We asked it to some market players: the most recurring answers reveal a “know-how” that combines craftsmanship and innovation, and an aesthetic sensibility that is the result of a historical and cultural heritage of absolute uniqueness.
Materials, styles and colors: creativity takes shape
The latest trends of Made-in-Italy regarding the kitchen environment show a propensity for innovation in the choice of materials and a solid competence regarding processing, treatments and finishes. This is combined with an aesthetic sensibility and creativity that are expressed through a vast series of color and style proposals. Among the kitchen appliances that are offering the most innovative and original solutions in terms of design and functionality, there are certainly hoods. If steel still remains a great protagonist, other materials are opening interesting ways. «Many of our products – says Tiziana Prosperi from Faber – such as T-Light, are made of stainless steel, an excellent material both from a hygienic and aesthetic point of view, because it is easy to maintain and can be combined with different types of furnishing accessories, be they in wood, lacquered or in other materials. For models that need something extra, we focus on glass, perfect for illuminating some particular shapes. We often work with materials such as polyurethane: plastic, therefore, the ideal to be modeled also on projects characterized by softer lines, and sound-absorbing, optimal for working on noise reduction and therefore on noise pollution. To accentuate the brightness of our products we choose polycarbon for its semi-transparent characteristics. In Faber the material research is very important because it allows to develop innovative projects such as K-arta, the hood created with the handmade paper by the master Sandro Tiberi, or as Thea (island and wall), new model of the Unconventional Country catalog characterized by a wooden frame. In terms of style, the next edition of Eurocucina will be the perfect opportunity to present the innovations we have introduced for vertical models and F-Light hoods. The latter will be characterized by soft lines, to give even more comfort to the kitchen environment. The vertices, instead, with a predominant technological power, are defined by more decisive lines and strong chromatic contrasts. In this regard, concerning color we often use the painted metal, in a glossy and opaque version, to give the possibility to the consumer to choose the one that best matches his kitchen environment. The strength of the finishes signed by Faber are the paintings able to guarantee particular and very requested effects such as cement or copper. We are also focusing on pastel and soft colors, and on shades that can match the kitchen tops, so as to create continuity in the environment. In our palette there is no lack of evergreen like black and white, and explicit references to the latest trends that see Matt colors as protagonists.»
The kitchen hood – explains in turn Evelyn Passanante of Baraldi – remains a home appliance in which metal is still the material of greatest use. Satin steel, sheet metal in various colors and aluminum are the bases for most of the models. Glass has also been very present for some time with black or white surfaces at sight or with particular effects. Moreover, for the models now on study, they starts to test new technical materials that allow greater formal freedom and new superficial effects. As for the stylistic choices, in addition to the satin stainless steel and white or black that remain the basis for the aesthetic proposal, we are going to present a new line of products where it will be possible to print some digital images on the visible surfaces that can have any coloration. Thanks to a new technology called ‘full color’ it will be possible to work the metal to be able to present it with evocative or emotional images or texturized effects. A new trend could thus be opened, which allows the offer to be expanded and the products to be customized for maximum integration with kitchens of different styles.»
In the range of hoods, innovation is combined with processes that draw from an older knowledge to give life to products of great originality, always starting from quality materials. «Falmec – Lorenzo Poser declares – uses only highest quality materials, such as AISI 304 steel that is hygienic, easy to clean and very resistant to corrosion. In recent years we have experimented other materials such as copper, ceramic, cement and hand-blown glass by Venetian glassmakers masters. Materials that enhance the ingenuity and craftsmanship skills, unique in the world, rooted in the culture and history of our territory. We also propose original finishes and paintings such as pewter, brass, anthracite and much more.» To better integrate the home appliance with the environment in which it is placed, companies offer solutions aimed to create a harmony effect among the different elements of the kitchen. «In addition to the use of steel and glass – says Stefano Molinelli of Fabita, a brand that won the iF Award 2015 for its Pura hood – we are also focusing a lot on the use of materials strictly linked to the kitchen tops (Corian, Kryon and Gres) in order to create a harmonious environment also in terms of finishes. Moreover, we are also activating a research on materials related to the nanotechnology world.» Regarding the cooking products (ovens, hob and kitchens), there is an important research in terms of materials and aesthetic proposals: from the most minimalist solutions, which mainly focus on glass and steel, to treatments with enamels and paints to get different color variations.
«We use all the suitable materials for the construction of kitchen appliances – explains Paola Gasparini from Smalvic, a company based in the Veneto region that won the Good Design 2017 for the NEXT 60 oven, also competing for the Red Dot Design Award – : the AISI 304 stainless steel, the top of the range of steels; the tempered glass that gives brightness, shine and a sparkling effect; the porcelain enamel, that has always been produced in our company, as our name says (Smalvic stands for Smalterie Vicentine); the vitroceramic crystal, with anti-transparency treatment in Kerablack, material used for some hobs, the porcelain stoneware, a super-resistant material, composed only of natural components, to create some very colorful induction hobs. On an aesthetic level, ours is a very rigorous, clean style: the essentiality of the materials is always in the foreground, accompanied by a high level technological component that allows the everyday appliance to reach professional performance.»
|The extra touch of the Italian design
Great quality, a network of easily reachable competences and a solid historical-cultural base: these characteristics represent, in brief, the ‘something extra’ of the Italian design according to the BrogliatoTraverso design studio, which has a successful collaboration with Smalvic. «Italy - the designers of the studio based in Veneto explain - can boast a very high quality in terms of work processes and a high level of innovation thanks to the strong concentration of industries, laboratories and research centers that constitute a very significant network of skills. In addition, Italy has truly unique historical and cultural basis and can really be considered a homeland of design at 360 degrees, if one thinks of the large number of personalities that have distinguished themselves in areas such as cars, fashion, art, technological innovation etc. The list of what Italians have invented is huge ".
Regarding the hobs, glass and vitroceramic are obtaining increasingly successful, as Luciano Antonini from Zepa highlighted. «Compared to the past in which the demand for steel hobs was prevalent – the manager affirms – today we are recording a growing demand for both glass and vitroceramic hobs. For the latter, in particular, a strong push has also come from the fact that they are appliances in which it is possible to apply the mixed gas-induction technology, a characteristic which is creating more and more interest by our customers. It is enough to think that in 2017 mixed hobs were the products that had the highest percentage growth in our productions. Furthermore, we are experimenting new materials starting from the application of nanotechnologies to obtain a greater ease of cleaning and resistance to gas without having changes in color. For example, we have found solutions to prevent yellowing of stainless steel, thus maintaining the brilliance of the hob over time. In terms of stylistic choices, we focus on clean and minimalist lines, but also with a focus on the style of professional products. We are trying to understand what the new trends will be and I think Eurocucina will be an important opportunity to capture the new furniture trends, which are very significant because the appliance has to be integrated into the kitchen environment.»
|The birth of a cooking product
«The product research comes from the study of the culinary and food habits of the end user - they explain from Zepa -. This is a first step to create successful products that are appreciated in the markets where they compete.» Just to learn about the habits of food in different parts of the world, the company launches Zepa Food Trip, a Web/Social series with a "young" format that will start from Cuba and then reaches South America and Central America, moving finally to China and other regions of Asia.
If some companies of Made-in-Italy choose for the minimalist style, others focus more on the revisiting of a more classic style, which sees the metals as protagonists. «The materials we use the most – Giulio Contini of Lofra says – are basically steel, brass and aluminum, because, producing home appliances for cooking, we need solutions very resisting to heat. These materials can be colored or enamelled to obtain different finishes. As for the aesthetics, we have chosen to distinguish ourselves by proposing a style that we call Dolcevita and that reminds the design of the stoves of the past. The products of this line include several chromatic variants, such as Lavender which has found great appreciation on foreign markets. With the cookers of the Curva line we propose a more modern style: it is a design characterized by rounded shapes that we create exclusively because we have registered it. Finally, another area in which we are operating is to offer our customers an ever-increasing possibility of personalization in order to satisfy even special needs.»
Being able to rely on the presence of several industrial businesses operating within a short distance from each other is certainly a plus for the companies of Made-in-Italy that find fertile ground for experimentation and to be inspired by different skills. As in the case of Glem Gas, whose products are made not only with stainless steel, but also using crystal, cast iron, aluminum alloys, until arriving in some premium appliances to the ceramic or carbon fiber film. Marco Guerzoni, Product Manager at Glem Gas, explains that «the proximity to cutting-edge motoring realities (Pagani Automobili is located right in front of us) certainly stimulates experimentation towards solutions in vogue in sectors that for obvious reasons are pioneering in this. Our Magnifica carbon look model or the Origine hob are a concrete example of our commitment in this direction. At a stylistic level, then, the Glem Gas cooking product must be part of the kitchen environment. The minimal style does not belong to us, as it simply does not suit us. So we prefer to start from more traditional styles and concepts and revisit them in the contemporary context, maintaining a strong product identity that can be combined with the frequent current need for mergers of style in the home environment. The Matrix line is a clear expression of this concept for us.» Glem Gas received an honorable mention at the Compasso d’Oro for its Origine hob and the Good Design Award 2015 for the Matrix bi-energy cooker.
The use of high quality materials and the great variety in processing and finishes distinguish the Italian product: kitchen is one of the areas where it is more visible the skill of the manufacturer in taking a valuable material and shaping it to realize extremely sophisticated solutions. «We use all noble materials such as stainless steel, brass and aluminum – explains Carlo Illotti of Ilve , a company that recently won the Good Design Award for the Panoramagic cooker -. Finally, we have also introduced nanotechnology coatings. As regards aesthetics, in furnishing kitchens and partly in household appliances, the theme of color and finishes see us particularly sensitive: we propose our clients different interpretations of steel, both natural and with material finishes. Our offer includes Scotch Brite, one of the most widespread finishes, followed by Nuvolato which is characterized by a surface made of light and dark, and Iron, a perfect example of superficial processing of steel that minimizes the presence of the unaesthetic fingerprints. In terms of color, we offer 5 trendy metals, steel paintings with great value craftsmanship and aesthetic result. Bronzed Gold, Delabrè Gold, Venice Bronze, Pewter and Raw Copper represent areas of taste dedicated to a public that, while appreciating the communicative power of steel, desires trendy representations that only these nuances can transmit. Our steels, however, also live in flat-colored finishes that enhance and strongly characterize the products, making them unique and distinctive; among the 6 available finishes certainly the Bianco Antico (ancient white), the very modern Matt Grafite and the timeless Rosso Borgogna (Borgogna Red) stand out. In addition, the Ilve range includes 5 clay finishes, the result of a research that has favored material yield, tactile sensation and durability: totally natural, spread by hand and, therefore, real interpretations, unique and original, the clays are tested to resist even to the aggression of oils and acids. In addition, they are indifferent to high temperatures and easily washable with water and detergent.» Finally, in addition to the variety of the proposals, another strength of the Made-in-Italy companies is the ability to create flexible and customizable products, with a sartorial skill that allows to find the right solution for every need. This is the direction followed by of Alpes Inox, a company that has been distinguishing itself for 64 years for its skill in shaping steel and which won the 18th Compasso d’Oro for its flip-up hobs. Aldo Moretto explains us: «Among the proposals that we will present this year at the Milan Salone del Mobile, there will be also the Liberi in Cucina line. This is a project in which the kitchen is deconstructed and composed of modules (width from 70 to 280 cm) that contain the various functional equipment (washing, cooking, food preparation, etc.). In practice, we have transformed the built-in elements into free-standing ones that the user can align or juxtapose at will to create the various wall or island compositions. In this way, everyone can find the solution that best suits his own needs and, if these changes over time, even the kitchen can vary because it is structured in blocks, thus becoming a very personal environment.» «Our products – Aldo Moretto adds – are all made of stainless steel and are conceived to last for a long time: this is why they are designed almost with a non-design, with a style that must not go out of fashion. The quality of our kitchens is guaranteed by a type of processing that is still crafted in many ways: in the company steel arrives in sheet and all the processing is done internally: we also manufactured the main components such as burners, flame spreader and grids. In this we are an atypical company, but it is precisely the fact of doing everything inside our organization that allows us to control the quality. In order to manage the process, in some cases we also had to invent the production technology.» http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuW71Sy4h 2I