HL spoke trends with Smeg CEO Vittorio Bertazzoni on his recent visit to SA. What elements do you think appeal to people in terms of appliance design? Well, people generally want appliances that look beautiful and will celebrate their kitchen, but, if it is not practical and functional, no one is going to buy it. What current trends are influencing product design?
- Colour Bright and bold colours are beginning to take centre stage. Even in fashion we are seeing a shift into more colour.
- Material People are beginning to experiment with materials more, such as our collaboration with fashion designers, and trying to add textiles to our fridges.
- Appliances People are beginning to shift towards small and compact appliances that are practical and multi-functional
- StyleMany styles are eco-savvy, small and compact. Such as the new dishwasher we launched, which only uses about 5 litres of water.
What are the different continental appliance design trends that you have observed? Europe and Asia are moving more towards the ‘downsizing’ trend. People are beginning to move into smaller apartments and are using smaller, more compact appliances which are multi-functional and environmentally friendly. In the US people are still buying big and bold appliances; they are doing the opposite of Europe and Asia. Are there any interesting lifestyle trends that you have observed? People are beginning to see their gadgets not just as a piece of technology, but as a ‘mate’. Apple is in the forefront in terms of producing such gadgets and encouraging this ‘mate’ relationship between man and product. What’s new at Smeg? We are currently working with a few designers, but I cannot reveal much about that at the moment. I can reveal one of our projects, since Italy is known as the Capital City of Fashion. We have had past collaborations with fashion designers, so currently we are collaborating with a fashion designer. We are trying to link textiles and appliances, such as a fridge made with a hint of denim. This is a great collaboration we will be showcasing at the upcoming Fashion Week. For more info and to see their complete range of stylish products, visit smeg.co.za. Interview by Tiisetso Skosana