What's Cooking, Berlin
In the German capital's Stilwerk complex, an Arclinea showroom by in-house designer Patrizio Locatelli Rossi channels the style of Antonio Citterio
Amy Philips -- Interior Design, 7/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
Arclinea has found its kindred spirit in Antonio Citterio. For over 10 years, Citterio's vision has been indispensable to Arclinea's precisely calculated corporate image, and the Italian kitchen manufacturer—which entrusts the remarkably versatile Milan architect with creating collections and even some advertising—views his ongoing role in retail interiors as central to the company's strategy. Evidenced by the numerous kitchen lines he designs for Arclinea as well as by projects for clients as diverse as Flexform, Flos, Ermenegildo Zegna, and the Rome subway system, Citterio is a rational functionalist with a decidedly elegant sensibility. The rigorous clarity of his vocabulary is well suited to Arclinea, which describes its products' conceptual basis as "tecnologia creativa. "
Arclinea and Citterio exhibit equal dedication to the idea of the showroom as a tool to communicate brand identity. Indeed, it would be hard to miss his influence on the company's new showroom in Berlin, created by Patrizio Locatelli Rossi of Arclinea's design studio in Vicenza, Italy, in consultation with Citterio. The space is located in the five-story international design center Stilwerk, also home to B&B Italia, Kartell, and Vitra—not surprisingly Citterio clients, too.
The 4,300-square-foot space is the largest of Arclinea's flagships. (Other major ones are in Munich, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam.) As in all these venues, the fully functional model kitchens generate the overall design, from the logic of the layout to the lighting and graphics.
Located on Stilwerk's top floor and enclosed on two sides by a dramatically curved, full-height steel-and-glass wall, the interior enjoys abundant sunshine, a claim that not many showrooms can make. Rossi's scheme takes full advantage of this fortuitous circumstance. Walls and the painted concrete floor are uniformly white, and the plan was kept as unobstructed as possible, providing a bright yet neutral backdrop for wares—one that's highly visible from within the complex, through an interior glass wall. "The space becomes a vision of natural light during the day and a lantern at night," Rossi says. Working with IGuzzini, another Italian manufacturer, he devised a program that combines indirect illumination with Cestello lamps shining on displays and Berlino fixtures suspended over kitchen islands. In addition to the focused lighting, illuminated photographic panels depict relevant product details and vibrantly sensual images of cooking and food.
As every designer knows, configuring a successful open plan is harder than it looks. Rossi notes that this layout was no exception, as the objective was to indicate "different atmospheres without enclosing areas." Product groups vary. Stainless-steel Artusi and Italia kitchens offer a high degree of mobility and ergonomically correct proportions within a high-tech aesthetic. The Florida Young Professional line's colorful finishes—such as iris violet, lime green, and mandarino orange—present a sharp counterpoint to the showroom's predominantly neutral tones. The traditional Mediterranea combines solid wood and stainless steel, "integrating the solutions and technology of the present with the forms and materials of the past," Rossi explains. It is notable that each grouping manages to convey a distinct sense of place while collectively forming a coherent showroom experience.