AN INTERVIEW WITH SMEG CEO; VITTORIO BERTAZZONI
Over the years Smeg has never stopped innovating. Always focusing on technology, research and creativity, the brand has gone from strength to strength with the help of great architects and designers to create some truly iconic pieces. From the first "slim" dishwasher, to the design of the new hobs, to the icon FAB28, technology has always blended seamlessly with style.
Now, after making a powerful impact in the world of large appliances, Smeg have collaborated with Matteo Bazzicalupo and Raffaella Mangiarotti from ‘Deep-design studio’, to create a beautiful new range of small appliances oozing with style. The toasters, mixers, blenders, kettles, with their curved lines and pastel colours make an impact in any kitchen. Though is it a case of style over substance?
Not at all! We talk to Vittorio Bertazzoni, the CEO of the Company, to find out what sets Smeg above the rest. Smeg has been a family run business since it was founded in 1948. Now in the third generation, Vittorio is taking the company even higher, pushing the achievements of the company his grandfather founded over half a century ago.
"People expect things a little surprising from us, but still with functionality as one of their main focus. Our products have to be solid in order to last for years. You have to keep using them and looking at them without getting bored."
Is kitchen still the heart of a house?
"The kitchen has always been the focal point of the house. It’s the room where, traditionally, the family would gather when the father returns from work, and in some ways it’s still like that. But today the concept is evolving: it is not just a place for the immediate family, but also a space to welcome friends and spending long evenings entertaining. The kitchen is no longer a hidden away, but rather a creative space that is shown off and noticed. And let’s not forget the cooking! Today, many people have a strong passion for cooking."
Do Celebrity chefs have influenced people to get creative in their kitchens?
"Yes, of course. They have highlighted the world of cooking and the inspired people to aim for quality in their kitchen, in both the food they create and the equipment they use to create it. They also helped us in rediscovering healthy foods. For us it is important to make appliances that will help people to prepare healthy meals. We have a social function as well, not just an aesthetic one”.
Is Italy still investing in the kitchen?
"Definitely. People always look for products which place importance on technology and design: Investments in the home always pays off."
Do you think this investment continues abroad?
"Our production is 100% Italian, and we have 17 subsidiaries around the world. Everyone loves ‘Made in Italy’, and like the idea that a domestic appliance, or even the furniture of a kitchen, it can get them closer to the Italian lifestyle."
How did you manage to make "glam" washing machines?
"This is what makes the Italians unique! I have had the chance to do what my father did 40 years ago; work with great architects and designers to push the boundaries to create piece which go beyond people expectations and challenge the way people see domestic appliances. Back in the 70’s it wasn’t easy for my farther to do this, but his perseverance paid off. He is a visionary, and an audacious man. "
What is your philosophy?
"Creativity and a right praise of folly. Do you remember Erasmus of Rotterdam?! ".