Timeless Italian styles are reemerging in gourmet kitchens, showcasing bold new colors, artisan craftsmanship, cutting-edge cooking options and updated safety features.
By Stacey Staum
The custom kitchens built by Officine Gullo USA have been referred to as “living sculptures” because of their unique artistic style. “I think beginning from the fact that it’s handmade and custom-made for each client, each item in the kitchen is cast by hand in solid brass. They are an expression of the person’s taste and uniqueness. If someone wants a completely new dimension or customization, it’s built for them, built for their needs, tastes and desires,” says Moreas.
Citing the styles of Florence as the major influences on Officine Gullo USA’s design style, Moreas continues, “Ancient sculptors like Michelangelo even casted in metals, so we use this as an inspiration. After three generations of doing this, we still use the ancient techniques for metalwork that make it unique and special in every way.” By using artisan methods, Officine Gullo USA achieves a traditionally styled cooking device that functions as art.
Valetina Bertazzoni describes Bertazzoni’s appliance style as aesthetic and functional. She explains, “The use of an avant-garde appliance coordinated with elegance and substance in the kitchen is becoming more and more important. We see this as the synchronicity design paradigm. It’s the idea of ‘as well as’ rather than ‘either or.’ Consumers no longer have to decide between a kitchen range only, or a cooktop with wall ovens. They can choose elements that work in synchronicity with one another, and they can choose to customize the kitchen to fit their lifestyle, which may mean a modern kitchen will include a range and a steam oven.”
When it comes to choosing cooking options, availability of features is of paramount importance. What features are most important varies widely from company to company and reflects each establishment’s unique outlook.
Bertazzoni offers features like steam cooking and other non-traditional cooking surfaces as cooking tastes evolve. Bertazzoni explains, “Cooking culture moves relatively slowly, compared to other sectors. Cooking is definitively more related to tradition and habits, and our tastes rely very much on our memory. It will take time before these technologies will reach the same popularity as, for example, gas cooking.” The company continues to offer modern technologies as the tastes and health concerns of consumers evolve over time.
Officine Gullo USA offers a wide variety of professional-grade equipment, providing the highest BTU output available in residential kitchens. The company incorporates blast chillers, vacuum packing machines, steamers, integrated coffee machines and any other appliance that a home chef might need in the kitchen.
On the opposite end of that spectrum, Verona and ILVE stick to more traditional methods.
“We have modern upgrades, but for us, the less electronics, the better. We believe more in Old World cooking: really great convection stands and really powerful ovens.”
While Verona and ILVE stick to more traditional cooking styles, safety upgrades are of the highest importance, as they have modern flame failure safety devices that shut off the gas when the pilot goes out, and ignition delay that prevent little hands from turning on the stove when children are unattended.
Bertazonni also places a high premium on safety. “One of Bertazzoni’s pillars is family, so safety is very important. Among many safety features, our latest is the Induction range which is universally friendly to all ages for its cool-to-the-touch cooktop,” she says.
With this focus on safety, top-of-the-line craftsmanship and an enduring aesthetic, the Italian-style kitchen continues to be the model for luxury in the high-end kitchen market.