The kitchen, heart of the home, has certainly changed a lot in the past 50 years, and even in the past 10. Many of these changes are due to advancements in technology, but, says Vittorio Bertazzoni, it’s also reflective of wider social changes.
“Especially talking about Europe, but also I think in Australia, people used to hide the kitchen before. You didn’t want to eat in the kitchen; it was a place that was only functional, not very beautiful. Today, people tend to show the kitchen, are very proud of the kitchen – this is my kitchen, this is my stove, my fridge; let’s eat here, it’s more practical.”
Even though we’re not really about ‘trends’ here at Habitus, we were interested to hear Vittorio’s thoughts on what colours and shapes were dominating kitchen & kitchen appliance design, and even more to the point, where these ‘trends’ come from.
“The last decade was dominated by very flat, simple, minimalistic design. Also the colours were grey, black, sometimes pure white, very simple,” he said.
“I think people want to go back to colours – maybe because the world is quite dark, people need to see something bright around them. Last year at Eurocucina [the biannual kitchen fair held in Milan] there was the first bit of change; I imagine next year to have lots of colour.”
Smeg have certainly taken colour to the cooktop with their latest range, a collaboration with Australian expat designer, Marc Newson, in a vibrant range of hues.
Along with seeing more colour, Vittorio assures us that in the future the kitchen will, more than ever, be the most important hub of the home. It’s only natural – just look at all the cooking shows on television, he says.
“It’s very fashionable, cooking. Something similar that happened to the wine industry. Many years ago, it was only Italian and French and there was this big boom in the states, Australia, NZ, South Africa, now you have fantastic wine. It’s really lifestyle, around food, cooking, the kitchen – a joy of life.”
In terms of technology, it’s all about efficiency, as we question our energy usage and tighten our fiscal belts. “Ten years ago a dishwasher consumed 35L/wash,” Vittorio says, “now we are down to 8 or 7.5. Or even ovens, we have reduced the consumption of energy around 35 – 40%.
“I think it’s possible [for things to get even more efficient] because there are so many new technologies. If I think about electronic devices that you can also apply to appliances, this can really help us to cut costs, consumption of energy. So there is still a lot to do."