My experience and my memory of the kitchen date back 40 years. At the time, I was at infants’ school and I passed almost every weekend in the hotel my grandparents owned in the outskirts of Cordoba, in Argentina, to give my parents a break from me and my three brothers. We spent most of our time in the large kitchen, which was a cross between a workshop and a living room. Grandma spent almost all day there, cooking, washing the dishes and sewing. Everything took place around a large table.
Much later, when my parents brought a restaurant and my mother became the chef, the kitchen was divided into an area for cooking and that where the dishes were prepared. But the kitchen was also the place where lots of other activities took place, such as doing homework and studying, playing and helping. We just wanted to be close to our parents and have them close to us. And so, I now realise, I spent more time in the kitchen than in the living room.
When Alfonso Arosio, who I knew from my days at Cappellini, called me to ask whether I’d be interested in designing for a kitchen manufacturer, my mind went right back to those moments. “How long does a memory stay alive?”, I asked myself. And I felt the intimate desire to relive part of those memories.
When I was invited to visit Schiffini and could really understand the calibre of the company, I realised that this moment would be impressed in my mind, forever; after all, I had been asked to continue the path undertaken by some of the biggest names in international design, most notably Vico Magistretti. And in that moment, I felt permeated by the smile of my dreams («la sonrisa de mis sueños»).
The concept underlying my vision is a workshop kitchen, a kitchen “with flavour”, a kitchen governed by a “pleasant untidiness” and not an aseptic architectural space, as we so often see nowadays. This kind of kitchen might look good on the pages of magazines, but, on a practical level, its good looks dissuade one from using it. It is the kitchen with the “rolling pin” that moves me.
As a designer, I look for strong ideas, a new prospect for a common function or the rediscovery of a theme. I am sure that I have succeeded in generating little inventions, creating something unique, but also in introducing into the kitchen brand new themes, and a different, new way of seeing elements that have always been linked to the kitchen environment.
The allure of the kitchen is boundless and touches each and every human being. In Milan, I would like to use the prototype of my kitchen and its composition on the Schiffini stand to generate ideas for the near future. This presentation helps me to focus on the place where cooking is done to move on to create a model vision for Schiffini and the design world, continuing to develop ideas, step by step.
In the end, the real kitchen will be different, but nonetheless it will emanate a great deal of this new essence. It will be something to be physically sniffed or savoured! It will be an authentic Schiffini kitchen, a workshop for cooking.
Last but not least, I have had the chance to meet wonderful people, like the Schiffini family. And I now know why Vico Magistretti worked with this company for 40 years. It is an honour for me to be here.