Appliances: Future Cook

Italian kitchens are joining the ranks of Italian sports cars, with sleek designs that incorporate luxurious materials and innovative details. Looking toward the future, Snaidero, a top manufacturer of cutting-edge designer kitchens, challenged Paolo Pininfarina, the acclaimed engineer and industrial designer best known for his work on the Ferrari Testarossa and Cadillac Allante, to develop a kitchen for the 21st century.

The result is Acropolis, a creative exercise in the integration of neoclassical design and state-of-the-art technologies. The star of the Eurocucina fair in Milan this past spring, the freestanding Acropolis sports a circular shape that is intended to dominate a space, not blend into it, says Pininfarina. And just as its namesake is the heart of Athens, this kitchen was designed to serve as the very core—or command central—of the home.

“Acropolis is meant to be the center of life in the kitchen,” explains Dario Snaidero, CEO of Snaidero USA. “It provides a central social area where everyone can gather. And the cook is not left out, since he or she is in the center of that circle.”

All references to philosophy, history, and tradition end there, however. Made of space-age sandwiched-aluminum, Acropolis is a futuristic exercise in both structure and ergonomics. Minimalist in stature, it measures an efficient 10 feet wide by 9 feet high and has coordinating peripheral wall units for pantry storage, refrigeration, and wall ovens. The focal point of this self-contained marvel is the curved, multilevel stainless steel counter, complete with integral sinks and stovetop, all at a comfortable arm’s length for the cook. Without a visual break, this horizontal surface sweeps upward at each end to form contoured open shelves that level into an arcing suspended “ceiling” that is outfitted with such essential elements as high-tech task lighting and a cylindrical vent hood. Vertical stainless steel support columns house all the wiring and electrical outlets. Flexible base cabinets accommodate a multitude of drawers, a dishwasher, and/or an additional oven as needed. “All vital areas are right at your fingertips,” says Snaidero. “Instead of walking across the room to get utensils or ingredients, it is all within easy reach.”

Pininfarina turns on the burners with the incorporation of an advanced computerized system that will control the lighting and appliances, as well as bring audio, video, home security, telecommunications, and the Internet into this culinary domain.

The limited edition Acropolis, offered with aluminum, stainless steel, and lacquered finishes, is set to go into custom-only production in 2003. This highly specialized cooking machine will be built with as much time, skill, and attention to detail as a Ferrari. If you want to be at the center of attention, you have to be prepared to wait.

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

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