Officine Gullo’s realizations excel for the refinement of the solutions and the quality of the materials. The fifty artisans working for the company create sophisticated kitchens, appliances and accessories inspired to the tradition of Florentine bronze artists of the Renaissance age
By Elena Corti
Officine Gullo was born at the beginning of the Eighties, but its know-how has much more distant roots that refer to the long tradition of the Florentine bronze artists. The company boasts a high level of experience in craftsmanship of metals and is an excellence of Made-in-Italy recognized in the world for the refinement of its realizations. Craftsmen of Officine Gullo, about fifty, are called “metal tailors” for their high expertise in shaping materials such as steel or brass, used to create fridges and cooking machines as well as hoods, built-in products, complete kitchens and accessories: everything is followed in the smallest details and designed to provide personalized solutions to customers. With Manfredi Conforzi, Project & Design manager of Officine Gullo, we enter the world of this modern “Florentine workshop”, which makes the ‘Italian essence’ its main strength.
What are the peculiarities of Officine Gullo?
Officine Gullo was born as a company specialized in the production of metal handcrafted kitchens. To realize our products we use noble metals, all solid ones so not empty. We operate in the highest segment of the market with an offer that is divided into four main areas: complete kitchens, household appliances and cooking machines, accessories (from shelves, to chairs, to sinks, etc.) and kitchens under 4 meters, a segment that we keep separate from larger sizes solutions. These are semi-professional products because they feature the same technologies and the same elements used in restaurants: we re-design them so that they can be used also in the domestic sector, without renouncing to the power and quality of the professional world. Our cooking machines, for example, mount high-power burners, fry-top plates, barbecues, induction or ceramic hobs, pasta cookers, deep fryers, bain-marie cooking solutions and so on. Opportunities are really so many to meet every customer’s need. Also in terms of dimensions, finishes and colors, we can offer a wide choice: for a single cooking machine we can start from 98 cm and get up to 5-6 meters. We can also realize it as island or integrate it with the metal elements that complete the kitchen (eg professional hood, panels, wall units, sinks). One of our peculiarities is the ability to handcraft built-in brass sinks: a great ability is required to integrate these products into the worktops and offer different types of finishes (chromed, nickel-plated or burnished brass) in order to obtain different aesthetic effects, from classic to contemporary.
Is the strong link with the territory your distinctive feature?
Yes, it is the soul of our company. We are essentially artisans and we want to remain so: we do not care about mass production. We have three factories in Chianti area and our design center is located at Antella, near Florence. All of our production is inspired by the Florentine culture, the ancient bronze artisans who made the first metal kitchens in the Renaissance. Today, this type of product is considered of French origin, but it was Caterina de’ Medici who brought this type of kitchen to France when she married King Henry II.
How do you follow your customers from design to delivery?
All of our kitchens are customized and tailor-made, so no step – from design to realization – is ever the same. For us, the relationship with the customer is extremely important in order to create a kitchen expressly made for the user, it is crucial to understand what its tastes and needs are. So every kitchen is different from the other, because what we produce is like a dress, realized with tailoring care to perfectly fit the person. Placement, colors, finishes and accessories: everything is made according to customer’s wishes and controlled with meticulous precision and great attention to details.
Do you also work with architects?
Yes, but for us anyway it is essential to keep a close contact with the end customer for each choice so that the product fully meets the expectations of the user.
In what markets are you present with your showrooms?
We have showrooms in different parts of the world: New York, Miami, London, Cape Town and Tel Aviv. We recently opened one in Russia and we are also opening showrooms in Australia and Dubai. In Italy, we have stores in Florence, Rome and Milan. We are therefore expanding in terms of presence in the territory, but we remain the usual fifty persons: it is our strength and what distinguishes us from others.
What kind of client do you address to? Do you notice differences in taste depending on the geographical area?
We address to the highest segment of the market: among our customers there are princes, actors, film directors and football players. We try to satisfy every their request, focusing on our professionalism and extensive experience. With regard to preferences, depending on the geographical area, some general taste trends can be identified: in the United States customers prefer large kitchens with a contemporary style, characterized, for example, by the use of steel. British customers (another very important market for us) love a more classic style, while in Russia intense colors and more decorated solutions prevail.
What makes your products exclusive, in your opinion?
I would say the unmistakable originality. In this sense, we have chosen the way of quality and substance, and this path is based on a belief: being Italian and, in particular, Florentines. The quality of our products is very difficult to copy. It is not easy to reproduce an artisanal kitchen with solid steel or brass, because it is necessary to know how to work with these metals. As well as it is not easy to create completely steel worktops with a perfectly built-in sink using the materials and processing we use. We are experts in shaping metals: our way of working is similar to that of an artist with a brush. All we produce is craftsmanship, we do nothing in series. Every kitchen is built in a certain way for a certain client: there will never be a copy of that kitchen, because that realization is made specifically for a specific environment.
In addition to the products that you entirely made, are there companies you address to for some types of household appliances?
Regarding domestic cooking, in some cases, we turn to high-end brands such as Gaggenau, Miele or Liebherr so that we can guarantee the utmost excellence at the technological and functional level. The appliances of these manufacturers are then covered with our metals, so that the end result fully reflects the style of Officine Gullo.
Can you mention some of your recent realization?
We are installing a very large kitchen in Surrey, England. The project includes a large cooking machine, an important work of carpentry and a range of accessories. As the customer is passionate about horse riding, we have created in the kitchen environment an area expressly designed to store what she uses to ride. In America, however, we are working in an historic villa, where we are installing a very classic kitchen. In Indonesia, then, we are creating an extremely contemporary kitchen, featuring steel, chrome and mirrors, while for a New York loft we have designed a solution with a modern style, in black, steel and chrome colors.
|The right solution for Indoor and Outdoor
Among the latest Officine Gullo projects, there are solutions both for indoor and outdoor environments. The "Avana Pearl & Nickeled Brass" kitchen, for example, is characterized by high-thickness steel cooking and washing areas (varnished in Avana Pearl with nickel-plated brass finishes), the wall with Noce Canaletto solid wood and worktops with Calacatta Oro marble. Efficiency and high technology combine with attention to aesthetics: the cooking zone includes a professional machine equipped with static electric oven, 4 high efficiency burners, coup de feu plate and fry-top. The island includes the dishwasher and sink in brushed steel with satin nickel tap, while the wall is equipped with wine cellar, combined microwave oven with a thermometer probe and combined steam oven with touch control display. Instead, the Pacific Light Blue kitchen is intended for outdoor installation. It is made in fire painted stainless steel with burnished brass finishes. It features a cooking island equipped with double barbecue, high-performance maxi burner with power of 10 kW and double fry-top smooth/ribbed with steel cover. The washing zone is equipped with a single basin sink and a professional ice maker. The kitchen is completed with two columns with multifunction oven, double pizza oven, rotisserie and dish warmers, and stools in sand cast aluminum and hand-sewn leather.