I introduced Kitchen supply and installation to our business 20 years ago after Antonio Citterio (my “God” of design) decided to become the Design Director of Arclinea Kitchens, a 90 year old Italian supplier of modular systems furniture and now arguably the world’s leading Kitchen manufacturer.
Citterio, by radically changing the design of the kitchen, transformed the way it was perceived – no longer a dark adjunct separated from the rest of the home but brought out into the light as part of everyday life in an open setting where guests, family and their activities are shared along with the creation of a dinner or a snack. Today’s Island bar style of kitchen design that almost all Architects and Designers prefer pays homage to Antonio Citterio’s philosophy from the early 1990s.
The influence of new kitchen design changed the way we cook – ingredients and techniques became covetable and began to provide entertainment as well as delicious end products. There is no better technologically advanced setting for showing off your skills, entertaining your guests, displaying your cutting edge design sensibility and having a good time than a kitchen. The best parties often start or end up in the kitchen.
I chose Arclinea as my Kitchen supplier not only because of Citterio’s genius, but also due to the technical innovation that the company has become renowned for; especially in horizontal and vertical surfaces, two of which are described and pictured here.
Arclinea have long been known for their superior stainless steel. However, with the addition of new revolutionary “physical vapour deposition” technology, which originally had a military application designed to decrease friction wear on metal parts, the sheer beauty and surface wearability has been enhanced way beyond my expectation.
This vapour deposition process takes place at high temperatures in a vacuum chamber – the metal plating occurs in a hermetically sealed chamber at a temperature of about 400 degrees Celsius in a total vacuum. Electric heating elements on the wall of the chamber heat the pieces via radiation. Argon is then introduced into the chamber, which then bombards the pieces with argon ions to activate the surfaces in preparation for treatment.
The result is Arclinea’s new “SteeliaTM” finish for vertical panels, such as doors, plinths, side panels and wall panelling. The first colour releases available in the SteeliaTM finish are simply stunning in Black, Bronze, Champagne and Steel.
The advantages of SteeliaTM are extraordinary. The coatings have a high chemical and abrasion resistance resulting in a scratch proof kitchen which stays perfect with little effort. Also, light stability being so important in this part of the world, means fading or loss of brilliance will never be a problem.
A second revolutionary new surface technology just released by Arclinea is their ArmourTM super matt finish for both worktops and doors. ArmourTM is the result of a big impact monochrome project using an ultra high-pressure heat lamination with new generation resins treated with a nanotechnology process.
ArmourTM is durable, scratch and abrasion resistant, easy to clean with high resistance to acidic solvents, and suitable for contact with food. It is also water repellent and hygienic, with an anti-mould property which creates a huge reduction in the bacteria load.
Feeling is believing – once you have run your hand over the silky smoothness of an ArmourTM surface and experienced the nanotechnology fingerprint proof surface you will be as amazed as I was. Add to this the excellent colour density (four colours available) and the ability to remove a scratch with heat from a hair dryer, the decision is easy.
Arclinea has integrated this material into its more advanced kitchen systems, including the “Italia” and “Convivium” projects and combining the super matt black tops with SteeliaTM doors and panels as shown above. The resulting beauty and practicality has simply confirmed I was right in choosing to partner with Arclinea and Antonio Citterio so many years ago.
Great design is usually a product of technological advancement and economics – it isn’t just some guy in a beret scribbling on a piece of paper. Arclinea’s use and development of SteeliaTM and ArmourTM combined with Citterio’s all encompassing attention to detail are perfect examples of this – a new process has enabled materials to be used in new ways making kitchens resilient, clean, healthy functioning centres of our everyday lives as well as objects of beauty and extraordinary design.
Alan Bertenshaw – Matisse International Design