New & Notable: An Italian Renaissance

If you’ve been following our blog over the last few years, you’re sure to have noticed that Italian kitchen and bath products are some of the most expressive and cutting-edge on the market. Italy, perhaps more than any other country, is truly leading the charge in the rapidly expanding realm of wellness, particularly in the area of home spas. Below, we’re highlighting a few of the latest designs from Artelinea, Mastella, Effegibi, Zucchetti and Kreoo—some you may have already seen in our showrooms already and some we're just installing now, like the compact Effegibi home spa that Snyder Diamond owner Russ Diamond spotted at Salone del Mobile/EuroCucina in Milan this spring. We think you’ll agree that each of the products featured here represent a spectacular melding of traditional Italian craftsmanship, high-tech processes and forward-thinking, progressive design.

When Russ visited Milan, one of his biggest take-aways was the trend toward midcentury-inspired bath furniture and a new willingness to explore mixing materials. Throughout the show but most notably at Florentine manufacturer Artelinea, he noticed designs comprised of woods and metals, as well as woods and glass. The Dama collection particularly caught his eye—it’s colorful glass contrasts with the wood frame in a design that is at once retro and contemporary. The customizable options are many, including drawer styles and color of glass. And you needn’t worry about damaging the glass, it’s an extraordinarily durable proprietary material, Dualite, which Artelinea describe as “a laminated safety crystal that doubles the technical potentialities and the expressiveness of glass.” Dualite joins two pigmented sheets of glass in a single element that results in a panel that is extremely adaptable as well as safe. The 8mm-thick panels come in either a silk or gloss finish.

In 2005, Treviso-based Mastella launched its high-end arm, MastellaDesign, which now produces an exclusive range of designer products for the bathroom. The popular Kalla design by Oriano Favaretto recently grew to include a new freestanding basin. (Tubs and a bowl sink were the first in the range.) Each new basin is made from a single block of Cristalplant, the company’s innovative material that looks like natural stone but offers a soft-touch feel and a non-porous, scratch-resistant surface. It’s non-toxic, hypoallergenic, UV-resistant, and even recyclable. Favaretto’s design, as you’ve probably guessed, was inspired by the calla lily. You can see a bit more of the creative process in this video—then, of course, come see it in person.

For centuries we’ve all associate saunas and steam baths with places like Turkey and the Nordic countries but Effegibi, in the small town of Borello, is changing the way the world thinks. Russ was utterly taken by a number of their new designs at Salone del Mobile but was most captivated by a design called Mid. The unit is a marvel of space-saving savvy from Rome-based Talocci Design and in just about ten feet incorporates a sauna, a Turkish bath, chromo therapy, music, and a shower. It's a single, sleek installation and designed using Canadian hemlock, specially laminated porcelain and safety glass, with back-lit touch-screen controls. It's available in 3 standard finishes but can also be customized. Also from Effegibi is the Touch & Steam system, a lightweight, professional-grade steam generator that can be installed into any existing shower setting.

“My aim with Closer is to reinvent the shower as a moment of personalized, regenerating and relaxing wellbeing,” says Milan-based Diego Grandi, designer of the new Closer showerhead for the Piedmontese family-run firm Zucchetti. The design in some ways calls to mind the lamps of midcentury French designer Serge Mouille, making it an all the more surprising and exciting form to find in the shower. It’s a dynamic reworking—rethinking, really—of the traditional concept of a showerhead: it’s flexible, adjustable and extendible. The showerhead is available in a soft black or chrome finish.

Loto is the latest marble sink to join Kreoo’s celebrated Nabhi Collection. It’s a refined marble washbasin with simple lines supported by a stave easel. The marble-and-wood design can be installed against the wall or as a freestanding unit. There are four types of marble from which to choose (White Estremoz, White Calacatta, White Perla, and Grey St. Marie), while the larch easel comes in four coordinating finishes. Loto continues Kreoo’s tradition of purity and simplicity, of natural materials and customization. It’s no easy task to make a material as heavy as marble appear light and ethereal, but in the hands of Kreoo’s master artisans, anything is possible. Kreoo, whose parent company is Decormarmi, is located in Italy’s scenic Veneto region. You can read more about Decormarmi in our previous post on the venerable firm.