Italian architect Antonio Citterio, now 56, was a bachelor in 1984 when he began designing products for Arclinea, a kitchen manufacturer in Vicenza, Italy. Today, the cofounder of the Milan architecture and industrial design firm Antonio Citterio and Partners still draws all the plans for the Arclinea Collection, but his latest creations reflect a broader perspective on how families are using their kitchens—thanks to his being married with children for the past decade.
“It’s an old story to separate the kitchen and dining room,” says Citterio, who lives with his family in Milan—in the house he built when he was single. The kitchen table, he says, is where his family prepares meals and dines together, and “the table in the dining room is used like an office, to do homework, read the newspaper, or work from home.” The problem, he says, is the glass partition that separates the spaces; it hampers flow between the two rooms and the functionality of both.
Perhaps it was his own home’s deficiencies that prompted Citterio’s latest models for Arclinea. They are intended for the homeowner who, like the architect, would prefer to combine his or her kitchen and dining room.
One of these models, the Convivium, has a stainless steel island with a five-burner cooktop and a recessed base that lets cooks stand closer to the work surface. The island-adjacent teak table with brushed aluminum legs provides a stylish eat-in option. Arclinea first introduced the Convivium in 2002, but Citterio has added a spacious walk-in closet that keeps a countertop, pantry, and appliances out of view from the kitchen—and from the dining room.
To eliminate a demarcation between the two rooms, Citterio’s designs utilize sliding doors or none at all. Consequently, family members can move to and fro freely, treating the kitchen less like a sterile workplace and the dining room more like a multipurpose space. “The new kitchen is about integration, rather than isolation from the rest of the house,” says Philip Guarino, president of Arclinea Boston, one of four Arclinea showrooms in the United States; the other three are located in Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco.
“Citterio,” says Guarino, “is tearing down the walls.” Maybe Citterio’s next project will be to tear down that glass wall in his own house.
Antonio Citterio’s latest Convivium kitchen for Arclinea features a walk-in closet that keeps a pantry and appliances out of plain sight.