Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What's New in the Italian Kitchen (Part 2) - Varenna

About a 45 minute train ride from Boffi is Inverigo, home of Poliform and Varenna cabinetry.  While Varenna has only been a part of the Poliform family since the 1996, the strength of the family run Poliform ensures Varenna is on the forefront of design and innovation.  My time with Varenna was brief, but since it was immediately after the annual Furniture Fair (Salone di Mobile) in Milan, I was able to see the most recent additions to their kitchen line, as well as a surprise I wasn't expecting.

This piece of woodworking art is the IO Wardrobe.  A concept designed by Paolo Piva in 1989, it is the first thing you see when you enter the Poliform Lab. Only a few were made, but it illustrates quite clearly Poliform's commitment to tailoring their furniture to meet their clients' need. I spent several minutes inspecting every nook and cranny of the IO; I'm sure I have more to discover.

In terms of additions to their catalogue, Varenna has added one new series to their line.  Phoenix has been in the works with Varenna for a while now, and this was my first chance to see it up close.  Phoenix features an integrated handle that mimics a channel-style cabinet, and has the added feature of a "start" and an "end" handle allowing the kitchen designer to create a more furniture-like appearance in the cabinetry.  The countertop also features prominently in the design by becoming less prominent ... 6mm thick to be exact (have no fear, it's actually thicker behind the scenes and quite strong).

Combine that ultra thin stainless steel countertop edge with veneered finished panels of the same thickness and you have a kitchen that stands out due to a strengthened elegance.

And to reinforce how well thought through the Phoenix line is, here is the detailing on the handles for tall units.  Notice how they stop just shy of the bottom, recreating the terminal detail found in the horizontal handles.

This is another Phoenix display, but I'm showing it because of the storage unit that's "slicing" through the middle of the island.  It's actually made up of components from Varenna's new equipped backsplash modules.  Each module is about 7cm deep and can be combined with other modules to cover your backsplash in efficient storage rather than ceramic tile or your children's artwork.

The equipped backsplash is typical of Varenna's excellence in the area of accessories.  Having a drawer is nice; having a well organized drawer is even better.  Here's just a few examples of some of the drawer inserts and accessories on offer:

Accessories from Varenna come in a wide variety of finishes: walnut, maple, wenge, and even white Corian.  

And while it's important to keep things organized behind closed doors, open shelving is a welcome addition to any kitchen. This storage unit features Spessart Oak interiors that are trimmed with a bronze metal edge.

Finally, this is the island from the "Sharp" kitchen Varenna created with Corian and Danish architect Daniel Libeskind for Eurocucina.  They were just re-assembling it in the basement of the Lab when I was there, but the details of the project were still quite amazing.  In addition, the new version of Corian Nocturn is truly beautiful as both a countertop surface and a cabinet door.  This video clip shows the details I was unable to capture:

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