There is something very special in Italian design that sits in the heart of each product. What makes us to love it so much? One thing is, for sure, the centuries of experience in craftsmanship and arts. The other two characteristics are passion and boldness. But above all is the ability to combine these qualities in a balanced and elegant way. Why is this so hard to achieve? I believe it is so because it requires cooperation between so much different minds to be able to join an artistic expression with the precision of the technical side of the design product. When it comes to kitchens, the Italian ones are, in my opinion, unmatched.
The art of kitchen manufacturing has been taken to the next level with one of the leading Italian brands – Valcucine. Not only technically incisive and visually impressive but also capable of showing off the individuality of the user as the designs are subordinate to ergonomics and personal preferences. Across their collections the functional elements can be combined in many possibilities to match the preferences of the kitchen’s owner. Gabriele Centazzo – Chief Design and Product Development at Valcucine, is behind the philosophy of incorporating the poetics of the space, as he puts it, to allow the user “to dream in the space”; the ergonomics and the freedom of the space, expressed in the lightness of materials and movement.
The Valcucine kitchens are made to last while at the same time they are dismountable and environment-friendly. Starting with the exceptional quality – incredible accuracy down to the smallest details, the manufacturers from Northern Italy are creating a flawless user experience. What amazes me the most, though, is the planning. Completely honestly, the kitchen as a room is a messy place! Instead of naive hopes that those surfaces will ever be free from all stuff that keep coming and staying forever, facing the problem is what the designers of Valcucine propose.
By introducing the New Logica System, an extra space of 20 centimetres behind the working area, they’ve changed the way we think about a kitchen. This additional lane consists of removable and washable units, designed to organize usually scattered across the room elements. Suddenly all cables, drying dishes, cutting boards, knives, spices, and what not, take their own discreet place – hidden or visible by choice. And so the broad board is kept tidy. Moreover, as the upper cabinets are placed now further back, they can also be hanged even lower without to risk hitting the user when open. That also means easier physical access and better visibility.
Surprisingly, аnd in contrast to other manufacturers, here there are no lines/series divided by the kitchens’ looks: a strategy used by the marketing teams to approach their target groups. Rather, Valcucine’s kitchens are customised according to each user. And so instead, there are systems incorporated in the collections (Genius Loci, Artematica, Riciclantica, Forma Mentis, Meccanica and Sine Tempore), which differ by their structure and concept while the appearance is built mainly by personal preferences.
In Genius Loci, the broad board is extra thin and continues with a drawer available in various finishes, and camouflaged as a bordering. The collection is inspired by the desks with secret drawers. Artematica’s goal is to perform perfect and flawless movement and safety. Riciclantica is the most resilient one – designed to resist moisture, steam and heat. Forma Mentis communicates the materiality through contact: the user experience lightness and easy grasp, respectively opening, due to the smart construction (conceptually drawing a parallel to Leonardo da Vinci as a representative of the human invention). Meccanica is fully dismountable and doesn’t contain glue in order to allow translocation and modifying, which makes this system extremely durable and flexible. The craftsmanship, especially showed in Sine Tempore, takes advantage of ancestral techniques of art creation: carving, inlay, mosaics, bush-hammering and cutting, applied in a contemporary way. They are incredibly beautiful methods, which reveal the materials’ hidden potential to bring beauty at home.
The surfaces are brought to life with the help of different finishing techniques like for example, brushed copper, unfinished wood and stones, and serving special purposes topcoats. To insure a long life of the natural stones (both smooth and structured) they are covered with a topcoat, which is resistant to unwanted stains. The topcoat of the wooden material is non-toxic oil, which preserves the surface’s natural mat appearance.
Above all, in 2015 22 various artists were invited by the curators Maurizio Galante & Tal Lancman to contribute with artworks and to inspire for more artistic expression in the living space. From this collaboration emerges wider presence of artworks and new ways of enjoying them in the everyday life. With this ability in hand each Valcucine kitchen becomes unique.
As result of two years of research, a new technique for colorizing glass panels has been invented to make possible artists’ intervention on glass material, available in Artematica Vitrum Arte.
Beyond functionality, durability and beauty, Valcucine’s kitchens introduce emotion and experience of the living space, which are qualities the contemporary architecture tries to implement in the last years. After all, for the Italians the food preparation is an art itself!
Images copyright information: All images by courtesy of Valcucine.