Design, advanced technologies and efficiency are firmly intertwined in the cooking products realized by the Made-in-Italy companies: it is a trinomial that was very evident also among the novelties presented at the latest edition of Eurocucina
by Elena Corti
Technological innovation and attention to aesthetics are the two sides of the same coin in the cooking products offered by the Made-in-Italy companies. The two aspects are combined to achieve maximum level of functionality and stylistic refinement. «Technology and design – Lorenzo Poser, Sales and Marketing Director of Falmec, underlines – are often linked, influencing each other and opening new stylistic possibilities. Circle.Tech, for example, is a revolutionary technology that, thanks to the horizontal use of the space, has allowed us to create new design solutions in the kitchen». Made-in-Italy products are frequently known for their innovations in shape and in aesthetic proposals, but they also feature the latest generation functions to guarantee the effectiveness of performance.
«Bompani – declares in this regard Enrico Vento, CEO and President of the company headquartered in Modena – differs from other brands for the wideness and originality of the range of colors and shapes of its products, all rigorously Made-in-Italy. In each product category, whether it is Free-standing or Built-in cooking, Cooling or Washing, our finishes range from the professional stainless steel to the colored crystal, from the glossy painting on metal in all possible colors to material solutions such as the Cor-ten finish used in the latest kitchen presented in the Italian Style Concept area at Cersaie 2017. But there is no lack of cutting-edge contents in these design objects, such as simple and intuitive electronic controls in built-in ovens and free-standing cookers. With regard to smart technologies, Bompani intends to move as much as possible the intelligence of the home automation system to smartphones and tablets, creating a system that has both more premium intelligent components – such as the induction hob with TFT touch controls – and, above all, integrated and add-on solutions that make the eco-system relatively cheap and integrable with more open and widespread solutions of virtual assistants, such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa. The first step will be the launch on the market – within the end of the year – of the new models of induction hob with TFT touch that will control the kitchen hood and will be monitored by a special App for smartphones and tablets.»
The combination of aesthetic refinement and technological innovation is also a determining factor in the choice of purchase, because from the Made-in-Italy product the end user expects not only beauty but also quality. «Shape and technology – they explain from the Marketing Department of Fulgor Milano – are intimately connected each other in the choices of the users, so they turn out to be two sides of the same proposal, which must be explicitly integrated in the design of products thus creating the personality of any single device that we realize, dedicating them to the different desires of the world markets, with a glocal vision, unique but flexible, pursuing the knowledge of the single aspects of daily life and of the many cultures in the kitchen.»
The strong technological component in cooking products has also made it possible to produce more and more performant and efficient appliances. «The focus of these years – Marco Guerzoni, Product Manager of Glem Gas, says – was primarily to evolve the product in terms of energy efficiency without ever compromise the performance level. In this area, technology has allowed us to reach goals previously unreachable. If we think of the shape, which in the home appliances necessarily goes hand in hand with their dimensions, in the Magnifica line the technological evolution allowed us to propose a single 140-liter cavity in a 120 cm wide cooker, guaranteeing increasingly excellent results with unchanged cooking times.»
The combination between technology and design is also linked to the concepts of engineering, research & development and connectivity in view of an evolution of products that looks towards the smart home and the excellence of performance. «Every product we present on the market – Tiziana Prosperi, Technician Graphic & Design at Faber, declares – is a perfect mix of the cornerstones of the company: technology and design. The engineering of a new model is done in close synergy with the R&D department. Talìka is the optimal result of this close collaboration: the design and construction of the Nautilus engine, characterized by a very reduced thickness (only 15 cm), allowed us to create a very innovative hood, the first totally vertical, which becomes a sort of a picture above the hob. In addition, also smart technologies are very important for Faber, a company that has always made of technology a strong point. At the stylistic level, we try to emphasize this aspect by creating continuity. This is the case, for example, of J-Project, an advanced hood that, thanks to the wi-fi connection is connected to the cloud and allows to manage all the functions through its touch screen or with an App through the smartphone.»
«We want to exit from the kitchen – Stefano Molinelli, owner of Fabita underlines – and to create more and more a domotic house, in which hoods, hobs and other appliances will “talk” to each other, improving the quality of life. The Internet of Things, the interaction between home appliances and home, is the future. It is a technology that, although present in still marginal terms, will see an important affirmation in the coming years. If then we restrict the field to the appliances we produce, we can say that the future for the hoods aims straight to air purification and odor elimination systems. As for the hobs, however, the simplicity and immediacy of use, combined with energy savings, are already today the trends that all the biggest companies are following.»
The cooking appliances of latest generation have made a strong contribution to the technological development of the sector, with numerous smart and connected solutions for the remote control of household appliances, a better management of products and the possibility of exploiting the potential deriving from the Network to make the use easier and easier: all this has been possible thanks to an intense research activity carried out by the companies. «Smart technologies – says Paola Gasparini, Managing Director and Marketing Director of Smalvic – certainly represent the pushed innovation. In our company research plays a significant role, because only through a constant research, it is possible to make a serious innovation. In our product, the part dedicated to touch control is increasingly important, to reach the capacitive intelligence of the N|EX|T| oven with digital controls placed directly on the handle.»
Furthermore, innovations are often stimulated by the requirements imposed by the new regulations. «The new rules on improving energy efficiency – explains Evelyn Passanante, Head of Retail Italy of Baraldi – have led us to study shapes that maintain on the one hand all the most aesthetic appeal but that would allow the hood to have a better suction with a more advanced fluid dynamics. The latest products go towards this direction, which brings the shape closer to its maximum technical expression. From this year, then, we have introduced the technology that allows to control some hoods, as well as from the rechargeable touch remote control, also through an App for smartphones. The new electronics, with a series of advanced functions, improves performance and allows a more intuitive and intelligent use of products.»
A central point when talking about appliances for cooking is that technology, and in particular electronics, must not make the product complicated because simplicity of use is essential for consumers. «Technology is almost “hidden” in Ilve products – explains Carlo Illotti , Research & Development Manager of the company – in the sense that deliberately it is not perceived by the end user but works secretly to give superior performance and ease of use. Considering in particular the smart technologies, we are going through a continuous research and development process to introduce even more of these solutions in our appliances according to the increasingly fast and refined requests of the consumer market.»
Finally, the binomial of technology and design, in products for cooking of Made-in-Italy company, is a key element in ensuring the reliability of the appliances, as highlighted by Aldo Moretto, Managing Director of Alpes Inox: «for us the technological aspect it is important above all to guarantee the safety and durability of the product, which must work well and for a long time. Technology and design, then, must favor the ease of use. Our products are practical, performing and last for a long time: this is also possible thanks to the quality of the steel we use and the processing we do internally.»
A further element underlined by several companies of Made-in-Italy is the need to compare with the new technologies related to the smart home, focusing attention on offering functionality that responds to real needs of the user. «Producing only high-end appliances – Giulio Contini, Export Director of Lofra, says – we use the best technologies available on the market, starting with the choice of components. We also pay attention to the electronics, because it is clear that consumer is getting used to certain technologies and in a home appliance he expects to find something similar to what he finds in a smartphone. However, given the peculiarities of cooking appliances, we believe that electronics must really be functional to the product in order to offer real added value ».
«Today, in a medium-high-end household appliance, technology and functionality are as important as design – Luciano Antonini, Managing Director of Zepa underlines, in turn -. As regards electronics in particular, it is clear that millennials, which are now becoming consumers, particularly appreciate smart-type features. However, to date the main obstacle to the diffusion of these technologies is the fact that the 99% of the installed gas product work without electronics. However, there are innovations already available: for example, we realize a gas hob with electronic controls, which could therefore integrate smart technologies. Surely there is a great interest by companies on these issues, but it is important to understand what benefits can really be offered to the consumer, satisfying real needs. The fact of being able to cook using tutorials accessible from the Net can be, for example, an interesting application».
Finally, Marco Guerzoni of Glem Gas highlights what, in his opinion, new technologies will bring more compared to those already in use: «technology in use until today has always been focused on the user/function interface as a support and aid to cooking, in addition to the control of the operation of the product itself. An extraordinary example are the automatic menus with relative Lcd displays or similar. With smart technologies, which are undeniably entering the homes of many people, we see a double trend being added to the current interfaces. First of all, the interconnection and the dialogue between devices, for example hoods that share the operation with the hobs. In addition to this, thanks to the IoT we have provided access to the Web: the Home network of devices that dialogue among them has opened up to the vast world of APPs and related on-line services, a land still to be explored with an immense potential but, at the same time, to understand thoroughly. Looking at the reality of our brand, the smart trend cannot be neglected, but contemporaneously we think that our offer has to maintain a strong sense of practicality and tangibility in anticipation of a normal bucking the effect that the smart technology could have. In summary smart yes, but not everywhere and not necessarily immediately.»
Combining performance, design and efficiency
For many companies of Made-in-Italy the trinomial “technology-design-efficiency” is the basis of the creation of products that must not only be beautiful, but must also be effective and designed to respect the environment. «At Faber – Tiziana Prosperi explains – we have always been convinced that energy efficiency is an important aspect in the production of an electrical appliance like the hood. For us, energy saving is an essential element that complements aesthetics and high-end performance. We have been among the first companies to make hoods in A class, thing that until recently was completely unknown in the industry. Talìka, thanks to its Nautilus engine, can be an excellent example of how Faber has succeeded in combining all these elements: a design hood that guarantees high performance and considerable energy savings.»
Smalvic also expresses a similar opinion, highlighting how the three factors are interconnected. «Energy saving, aesthetics and performance go hand in hand – explains Paola Gasparini -: one aspect does not exclude the others. The sustainability concept, intended at 360 degrees, includes a particular attention to the reduction of energy consumption; obviously every country/geographic area has its needs: exporting a lot, we know it well, starting from Italy with its stratospheric costs for energy, so these aspects are inescapable.» Italian companies are working hard on research to build appliances that offer high performance, without requiring high consumption. «Bompani – says Enrico Vento – focuses very much on environmental sustainability. In our cooking products research and experimentation to reach increasingly better energy classes do not stop to combine excellent results with the minimum energy consumption. So we continue in our path: offering customers Made-in-Italy products more and more beautiful and with more and more reduced energy consumption.»
The attention to sustainability is an element that characterizes both the products and the “style” of a company, as underlined by Lorenzo Poser of Falmec: «For us, energy saving is an important aspect as much as aesthetics and high-level performances. For this reason we have just launched a new engine called Green Tech, able to further reduce consumption and to guarantee up to the A+++ energy class. At Falmec we have always been careful to the environment that surrounds us: this is demonstrated by our commitment to create intelligent products, such as high-tech filtering solutions that contribute to maintaining an optimal thermal insulation in the homes. Also our company policy aimed to reduce waste and exploit clean resources (for example, we have two photovoltaic plants that guarantee us the energy self-sufficiency)».
Moreover, the efficiency theme is increasingly object of interest by consumers, careful to environmental matters. «Energy efficiency – Stefano Molinelli of Fabita explains – is an important element for the modern consumer, worried about the amount of energy that is used. The energy saving and the choice of materials continue to play an important role in the sustainable kitchen.»
«Energy efficiency, in the case of cooking appliances, often goes hand in hand with performance – underlines in turn Carlo Illotti of Ilve -. However, it happens that in some cases it may be a limit to performance. Ilve prefers to make the two souls coexist: one respectful of energy saving and the another of high-performance: a skillful mix to meet the demands of a sensitive public and careful to the environmental issues.»
Evelyn Passanante of Baraldi, however, says that in her opinion, in the case of hoods, elements such as design and technological performance are still the determining factors for consumers’ purchase choice. «Since the labeling indicating the level of energy efficiency has been introduced also for hoods – Evelyn Passanante declares -, the path towards a greater sensitivity about this theme has begun, but until today it remains a marginal feature in the choice of products by consumers. Aesthetics first, and performances then are still the most felt factors in the purchase evaluation. A hood, in general, due to the fact that it is used with less continuity than other kitchen appliances, allows savings of only a few euros passing from a low to a higher energy class, perhaps for this reason we see that the direction towards energy saving has been taken, but the sensitivity towards this matters still remains limited.»
A further element to consider in the technology-design-efficiency relationship is the importance of the engineering phase. «Today we cannot consciously ignore or disregard the need to reduce global consumption of the planet – they say from the Marketing Department of Fulgor Milano -, an increasingly evident need with the growing of the world population and of private consumption generated in all continents; the savings process must be present from the beginning of the design and in defining the company’s development and manufacturing processes. Consumption must be limited without penalizing the performance of the devices, so as not to reduce the effectiveness of research applied to everyday life.» «We design our appliances to ensure high energy savings and efficiency – Giulio Contini of Lofra explains in turn-. For us it is a fundamental aspect right from the initial design phase. In different markets, the feeling towards eco-sustainability issues can change a lot: there are countries where ‘green’ technology is highly appreciated, others where the local law does not even provide for energy classes. In any case, we aim to design and build appliances that offer maximum performance with maximum energy savings.»
Luciano Antonini of Zepa, moreover, emphasizes not only the need not to waste energy resources and to conceive sustainability at 360 degrees (the company uses energy produced only from renewable sources), but also the need to think about disassembling of a product starting from its design phase. «A significant part of our appliances – Antonini says – uses gas and for this reason we have always had to compare ourselves with the tests of efficiency, in order to make products that do not waste this resource. Furthermore, the topic of sustainability touches another important aspect: the disassembly of devices at the end of their life. From the design we must take care that the product can be easily dismantled so as to facilitate the recovery of materials as much as possible.»
Sustainability finally, can also be a sales driver to focus on, as pointed out by Marco Guerzoni of Glem Gas: «If we talk about EU markets, the topic of energy saving is certainly relevant. Here for a long time we have been living a double effect, mainly imposed by the push of the latest European regulations ( EcoDesign ), but also by the need, in a mature sector with surplus offer, to continuously propose new products that can, riding the trend of energy efficiency, give oxygen to positioning ‘devastated’ by the fierce competition in terms of price. The other world markets in the near future will necessarily come to the same considerations, both for normal evolutionary dynamics and/or for the expansion of an organized distribution that makes of promotional leverage a must for sale.»