Italian kitchen was defined as a concept in the early 1950s, during the reconstruction period after the Second World War, against the background of the “Italian economic miracle” and strongly supported by the influence of the American lifestyle.
But the roots of Italian kitchen furniture go back in history, dating back to Roman times. Testimony are the vestiges that can still be admired in the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, where on every street corner we can find islands of Roman cement covered with carefully processed stone or even remnants of marble and granite that came from the “luxury” works of the time and which the stonemasons used in various graphic or colour compositions.
These islands were, in fact, public spaces, a kind of fast-food place where hot food and wine were served, but which had a very important social role. Politics, business and new contacts were made around these first kitchens and their role as social factor was reinforced and perpetuated throughout history.
Italian kitchen beyond gastronomy
By the end of WW2, Italy was economically organised into small “botega” handicraft workshops, small family businesses in which only family members usually worked with very young apprentices eager to discover the secrets and crafts. The workshop was positioned on the street, with large doors, which stood open all day long.
Behind the workshop was the house, which consisted of an impeccable reception hall for guests – decorated with pieces of Chippendale furniture, carpets and fine tapestries, but which was very rarely used in reality – as well as the bedrooms. Between the workshop and the house was the kitchen, a long room that housed the cooking machine, shelves for storing dishes and food, but also a huge workbench – a high and solid solid wood table – called “bancone”. This table was practically the “island” that in time became the island of today’s cuisine.
During the lunch break, an important moment in Italian life, both family and workers ate around this island. It was the time of day when the men and women of the family could discuss the daily problems of the household and enjoy the children for a few minutes. The evening was generally reserved for men talking over a glass of wine with friends or business partners. The kitchen was preferred to the guest lounge as it was constantly heated and easy to clean (… work clothes were not always clean).
Luxury Italian kitchen
Italian kitchen furniture began to be produced on an industrial scale in the early 1950s, being strongly supported by technology import and export orders to and from America. It should be noted that “Italian furniture” has become synonymous with “design furniture” through the efforts, ingenuity, passion and dedication to sacrifice of ordinary craftsmen, supported by traders in Milan, who have established a relationship of cooperation and synergy between different sectors (leather, carpentry, metalworking, mechanics, glassware, etc.).
In the mid-1960s there was already a healthy and honest competition in the production of luxury kitchens for the richest people in the world, who came to Milan especially to see and order custom-made kitchens, for which they waited even better than a year and for which they paid huge sums of money. It was the birthplace of the great Italian brands that are still innovating the industry, and which continue to establish themselves as trendsetters in world design and lifestyle.
The ’70s were characterised by a sudden increase in the production capacity of modular and custom kitchen furniture, these are the years when Italian kitchen furniture became affordable and luxury kitchen became a standard of living.
Una cucina di grande bellezza
Today, Italian kitchen is not just a necessary space for cooking. Italian kitchen is a social space, which has the role of gathering family and friends in a relaxed environment, is the space where the active moments of life take place, completes us and defines the way we live, to enjoy the most beautiful delights and moments of life with those close to you.