For many years the kitchen was a neglected area. After a period when large open living spaces were favored and kitchens became "family rooms", there is now a strong return to the "kitchen-kitchen" concept in Italy; but, with some major changes - compared to the kitchens of a couple of decades ago.
First of all, there is a quest for harmony in kitchen decoration as the kitchen is no longer a place relegated to paid help; but rather, it is the soothing place to which the lady or gentleman of the house returns after an often arduous day of work to quietly prepare an evening meal that is a tribute to "slow food" - and is almost always accompanied by a favorite bottle of vintage wine.
The second major factor in kitchen decorating in Italy, is closely related to the life style of the family. This is the need for a kitchen that is practical and makes the utmost use of all available work-saving technology. Although wood kitchen furniture continues to be used in country residences, the new preferences are mostly for linear, stainless steel kitchen furniture and appliances. Little nooks for odds and ends and various decorative items are definitely out. These items only collect dust and add to unnecessary household chores. Instead, out-of-sight storage is at a premium.
A clear example of the latest trends in linearity and practicality is provided by the kitchen furniture called "Italia" from the Arclinea Collection of Arclinea Arredamenti Spa. (See www.arclinea.it for more information ). This company also sets a premium to personalizing the kitchen to make it a "living space" suited to the owner's individual needs. A fully equipped stainless steel island includes plenty of storage space as well as
"The spirit of the Italian kitchen finds a new expression in Mediterranea: the programme that integrates the solutions and technology of the present, with the forms and materials of the past. The use of solid wood has allowed the creation of sturdy, free-standing structures, rich in pratical details and warmth: from the multi-function work island, with stainelss steel sink built into the wooden top, to the independent unit housing the oven and deep drawers for pots and pans. And the natural feel of wood is complemented by the durability, strength and ease of cleaning of stainless steel, especially in the more 'technical' details and elementes, but also in those most subject to knocks: the hob unit, the freezer, the unit plinths and the feet of the free-standing elementes, but also in those most subject to knocks: the hob unit, the freezer, the unit plinths and the feet of the free-standing elements. " (Below is a sample from the Mediterranea line by ARCLINEA)
A fully equipped stainless steel island includes plenty of storage space as well as cooking surfaces.
At the centre of the work area in the kitchen is a multi-function work island equipped with open units and professional work top for cooking and washing. This is flanked by a sturdy preparation work top in steel, complete with moveable units. This is the concept at the base of the Artusi kitchen programme, characterised by the extensive use of stainless steel and the generous range of useful and intelligent accessories: such as the utensil bar going right around the hood, designed to assist the circular nature of movement in the kitchen, or the big, sliding polyethylene chopping boards, that allow food to be moved both vertically and horizontally during preparation, from the sink to the cooking area.
An 'activity centre' is here completed with a solid, easy-to-clean, stainless steel food preparation work top with utensil trolley and work top, and also by a complete structure of wall units, with wide doors in etched glass and pratical vertical handles for pantry and freezer. (Below the Artusi Line By Arclinea)
Similarly, linear design, ample storage space and lots of space under the kitchen furniture and appliances to allow easy floor cleaning are the hallmark of such manufacturers of quality kitchen solutions such as Cucine Lube Over Spa. This product line is noted for its vast attention to detail.
Lavanda is a kitchen with simple, linear design. The particularity of Lavanda lies in the sharp contrast of colours in the cabinets door finishes, the bold matching of the worktops, highly professional work areas with the right electrical appliances, and accessories that use available space to the maximum. (Below Lavanda kitchen style By LUBE.)
Designer steel cooking surfaces, such as those encompassing four cooking fires aligned lengthwise to facilitate reach and reduce back strain, are the most recent contribution to making cooking an easier job patented by Binova Spa (www.binova.it). It is the innovation of the 21st century REGULA by Paolo Nava and Fabio Casiraghi for BINOVA, now in a definitive version. Someone has defined it as the pluralist and destructured kitchen or the spokesperson for a new tendency in action that places people, with their specific practical requirements, at the centre of the domestic environment. A versatile system, free from pre-established schemes, REGULA leaves behind the classical concept of horizontality, continuity and staticity to arrive at a "relational" and "cosmopolitan" interpretation of the kitchen.
The broad acceptance of the new trend towards linear design and "easy-to-care for" materials in kitchen decor in Italy is clear when one examines the latest solutions promoted by the popular appliance manufacturer Candy (www.candy.it) that has introduced the "Plan" line of steel ovens, dishwashers, cooking surfaces, microwaves and kitchen exhaust covers. The new trend towards easy living and harmonious design is illustrated by the kitchen furniture of the line "portofino" and "argentario" produced by another popular company, Scic (BELOW Argentario by scic).
The Portfino (below) version of this line of furniture in white lacquer and natural wood provides a relaxing and genteel atmosphere with plenty of storage space to facilitate kitchen tasks.
No kitchen decorating problem is too small to be addressed. Even for kitchens with limited space innovative design has resulted in special lines that marry practicality with attractive decorative solutions.
For more Italian kitchen-decorating ideas, see this Article