Partner Stories:
a moment with Valcucine

Driven by the mission to achieve a perfect combination of sustainability, ergonomics and design, kitchen designer and manufacturer, Valcucine, offers a perfect blend of purpose and aesthetics. For over thirty-five years, they have consistently focused on innovations with an aim to turn the world of kitchen design on its head, presenting functional designs that make everyday experiences effortless.

Valcucine manufacturing - rogerseller
Adapting aluminium profiles to construct the structural loom of a worktop.

Interview with
Gabriele Centazzo, Valcucine

The Valcucine kitchen is one that balances a combination of sustainability, ergonomics, timeless design and superior engineering. We spoke with Valcucine president, Gabriele Centazzo about his ground-breaking design concepts and the integral role that mother nature plays in his work.

Did you always know you wanted to become a product designer?
I've always drawn, with passion, since childhood.

Can you briefly talk about some of your key influences?
I studied chemistry when I was younger, but I never really considered it to be significant. It didn’t seem have a lot to do with design, but in retrospect, it has actually allowed me to take a more technical approach to my projects. My understanding of chemistry has given me the opportunity to design revolutionary mechanisms and to produce surfaces with amazing tactile sensations, for example, the tactile glass. Its surface is incredibly pleasing to the touch and allows the glass to be perceived as a warm material.

Anything else?
I also think that my sense of curiosity has had a very meaningful impact on my personal development. It has led me to read hundreds of books. In particular, The Eyes of the Skin – Architecture and the Senses by Juhani Pallasmaa taught me how to design using all the senses – not just the sense of sight, as often happens. La Poétique de l'espace and La Poétique de la rêverie by Gaston Bachelard helped me to understand the role of ancestral unconscious thinking in our perception of beauty.

valcucine drawing - rogerseller
valcucine drawing - rogerseller
Genus Loci drawing - rogerseller
Gabriele Centazzo’s original draft sketch of the Genus Loci.

Can you name some designers or architects that you have drawn design inspiration from?
I don’t really have a mentor or any designers that I’m especially inspired by. What I really consider as my main reference points are mother nature and my constant search for freedom. For example, the new Graphic Vitrum design (a special digital printing technique for glass) was inspired by the texture of butterfly wings that I simply enlarged. While the New Logica System recreates the effect of gazing at a cloud of light instead of the furniture that blocks our view of the outdoors. 

Please tell us about the inspiration behind Air Logica.
The Air Logica uses V-Motion – an ergonomic system which allows you to have everything at your fingertips and everything in order within a moment, through the closure of a door. The lift-up door opens via a simple upward gesture with the hand, while the engine makes the opening even more magical.  

V-Motion meets my principle of research of freedom: the back panel becomes a cloud of light that allows my mind to wander over the room, even if I am working. The changing colour of the light can follow the circadian rhythm, with a bluish light in the morning that prepares me for daily activity and a warm light in the evening that stimulates the production of melatonin and prepares me for a sweet sleep. The element of surprise is something that I try to integrate into all of my designs.

Artematica Concept Butterfly Wings - rogerseller
- rogerseller
Assembling Air Logica’s special pulley system, which uses motion detection to open and close the door.

What is your opinion on the importance of good ergonomics in the kitchen?
Kitchens are often designed seeking only a beautiful aesthetic. Personally, I think this is wrong. The kitchen is a place where I spend many hours a day. For this reason, good ergonomics are crucial so that I can go about my activities in safe way, maintain good posture, have everything at my fingertips, and feel free.

Do you think there is still scope to re-invent the kitchen in a more profound way – especially when living spaces are getting smaller?
Fortunately, creativity has no limits. I think there is still much to do in order to make life more comfortable in a space of peaceful beauty.

What are your thoughts on the essential design elements that make a perfect kitchen?
Perfection does not exist, that is why we keep working to pursue it. The kitchen that satisfies me must be ergonomic, must give me a sense of freedom and stimulate all of my senses – especially touch. In my opinion, kitchen design should seek the harmony of diversity; that is what I consider true beauty.

When we first met you mentioned a lot about nature. What role does nature play in your life, and how has it influenced your designs?
To me, nature is the greatest designer that has ever existed. If you have the ability to observe nature you can always learn something. I had the good fortune to spend my childhood surrounded by nature. I got to experience wilderness and I learnt to appreciate a sense of freedom. To me, this is absolutely invaluable.

valcucine manufacturing - rogerseller
Fastening the aesthetic glass panel to the structural aluminium frame.
valcucine manufacturing - rogerseller
Applying special silicon rubber that blocks dust and ensures a soft closing for the kitchen doors.

"The element of surprise is something that I try to integrate into all of my designs."

Gabriele Centazzo, Valcucine
valcucine manufacturing - rogerseller
Valcucine’s graphic artist applying an art stencil to Air Logica’s tempered glass door.
valcucine manufacturing - rogerseller
The work of applying art to glass is a delicate process, requiring great precision and a steady hand.

"kitchen design should seek the harmony of diversity; that is what I consider true beauty."

Gabriele Centazzo, Valcucine
valcucine manufacturing - rogerseller
Applying adhesive to the structural aluminium loom, ensuring a strong connection between the aluminium frame and the glass to form the unique Linea H6 glass worktop.
valcucine manufacturing - rogerseller
Assembling the front panel of the Forma Mentis drawer. All Valcucine products leave the factory fully assembled.
valcucine manufacturing - rogerseller
Artematica tempered glass door being installed into the aluminium frame.