Appliances: Access Granted

  • Linda C. Lentz

When the late Rino Snaidero, former president and CEO of the kitchen design firm Snaidero, opened his original shop in the Friuli region of Italy in 1946, he was not satisfied with making superior-quality cabinets; he wanted his products to be distinctive. Snaidero’s objective eventually led to collaborations with architects Gae Aulenti, Angelo Mangiarotti, and Giovanni Offredi, and industrial designers Massimo Iosa Ghini, Paolo Pininfarina, Roberto Lucci, and Paolo Orlandini. Their contributions did indeed help to distinguish the company from Europe’s other high-end kitchen manufacturers, and similar partnerships continue to do so today. For its latest offerings, Snaidero commissioned three of the world’s top industrial design teams to develop kitchen concepts that were visually and ergonomically extraordinary; the designs they produced might be the company’s most innovative ever.

The design of Skyline, by Roberto Lucci and Paolo Orlandini of Lucci Orlandini Design, was influenced by studies that Snaidero conducted on disabilities and rehabilitation. “We wanted to create something for people with different needs,” says Anna Paola Snaidero, Rino’s daughter-in-law and the advertising and public relations director at Snaidero USA, “something that could be used by people with no physical limitations, but also could be useful for the elderly and wheelchair-bound.”

Skyline features a wraparound, single-piece countertop with no base cabinets so that a wheelchair can move under it and under the sink basin. For safety purposes, the countertop has no corners or sharp edges, and the hood above it is equipped with sensors that control the lighting. Multifunctional carts, turntables, the cooktop, and the refrigerator also are designed and positioned to be easily accessed. “Even if you had a broken leg from a skiing accident, it would be easy to cook something in this kitchen,” says Anna Paola.

Lucci Orlandini’s Panoramica design is intended to be as stylish as it is functional. Tall aluminum cabinets marked by curved, etched sliding-glass doors flank glass-fronted wall cabinets—all lit from within to produce a soft, diffuse light. A practical stainless steel worktop covers the base units, which can be finished in wood, laminate, or lacquer.

Curves are prominent in Fluida, a new kitchen by Massimo Iosa Ghini. With an elegant design created by fluid form and rounded surfaces, it also features alternating materials such as Corian, laminate, lacquer, stainless steel, stone, and wood. Boiserie back panels are fitted with discreet glass shelves. A sleek upper shelf houses ambient task lighting and integrates a slim, rounded vent hood.
 
A fourth Snaidero design is not new but rather revamped. Paolo Pininfarina’s futuristic aluminum and stainless steel Acropolis kitchen-in-the-round, first introduced in 2002, can now be installed against a wall, rather than only in the center of a room.

The collections, Anna Paola notes, will appeal more to those with contemporary leanings. “The kitchen is the most complicated room in the house,” she says, “and it really needs to be high tech.” 

Snaidero USA, 310.516.8499, www.snaidero-usa.com

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