On November 29th, Boffi Georgetown celebrated its first anniversary with a special reception and visit from Paolo Boffi, the co-owner and chairman of the company. Mr. Boffi’s father, Piero Boffi started building kitchen cabinetry in Italy in 1934. By 1948, Boffi was producing the first modular cabinetry for kitchens in its original factory. It was in that year his sons—Dino, Pier Ugo and Paolo—joined the company.
In the Georgetown showroom, Mr. Boffi spoke to guests about the evolution of the Boffi brand and its innovative collections of modern kitchen, bathroom and wardrobe systems.
H&D had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Boffi that evening via a translator to discuss the latest kitchen and design trends. Following are some highlights from our interview.
Assuming Europe sets the trends in kitchen design, how long does it take for the latest styles to reach the U.S.?
Certainly, Europe is now more cutting-edge [than the U.S.]. But don’t forget that 50 years ago we were building American-style kitchens the American way in Italy. We were particularly influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1920s.
Then Europe developed further, especially its the appliances industry. Europeans were very concerned with built-in appliances. (This is evident in our 2008 Launch of The Duemilaotto Kitchen, which featured bi-folding, coplanar and pocket doors to conceal appliances such as the refrigeration units and ovens behind finished panels.) I think regardless of the financial crisis, the U.S. is a great market for European appliances and kitchens. (We continue to inspire new ways of utilizing and viewing this very important part of the home.)
Are modern kitchens on the rise in the U.S.?
Except for England and France, kitchens in the rest of Europe are modern. What has happened in Europe is going to happen in the rest of the world. In the U.S. market, we have not reached the 10 percent [saturation] point of modern kitchens and have no doubt that they are just going to become more and more popular..
What are the latest trends in European kitchens?
Surely, minimalism is here to stay. As far as materials, lacquered, opaque and wooden kitchens are popular.
And there’s always time for a great trend to return. It’s like women’s skirts; they get longer or shorter every 10 years.
How has bathroom design evolved in recent years?
What happened in the bathroom is the same thing that happened with kitchens. Years ago, the kitchen was only a place where you cook but it’s become a place where you live. Bathrooms are becoming bigger and more personalized. Before, everyday items such as tubs, mirrors and washbasins all looked the same, but now there is a greater choice in materials and models.
Also, with new technology today we can install freestanding tubs in the middle of the bathroom instead of against a wall. It’s has evolved like the island in the kitchen.
What is new on the horizon for Boffi?
We have a new architect working on a very high-tech product designed for younger people on the move. It will be ecologically sound and made with recycled materials. It will contain no wood—not even a centimeter. It will probably be on the market in late 2012.
Boffi is also further developing our lighting collection and bringing sanitary fixtures (toilets and bidets) into the U.S. soon.
And now, a few images from the wonderful event!
For more event coverage, see “Out and About” in the January-February 2012 issue of HOME & DESIGN.