The ever-evolving, slick European kitchen design is a status symbol in the Philippines. Its minimalist lines, refined materials and state-of-the-art technology reflect a sophisticated taste.
In recent years, more Filipinos have been aspiring for this particular style and design.
Keeping up with the construction boom, companies such as Focus Global Inc. are bringing in new brands to furnish the Filipino home. The latest in Focus’ portfolio, Boffi Spa, a highly regarded Italian line for kitchen, bathroom and storage systems, is set to open its showroom at The Residences Greenbelt.
Asked how Boffi distinguishes itself from its competitors, Nicolo Gavazzi, area manager for Asia-Pacific, said, “Our kitchens are warmer and less rigid. They are considerably flexible and customizable to suit different customers and their lifestyles. We are more sculptural, and keep the lines neat.”
He observed that the trend is to come up with new materials with ultra-sleek textures, and which are scratch-resistant. “With our nanotechnology, if you scratch a surface it can be smoothened out.”
Boffi has also used lava stone from Mount Etna volcano in southern Italy, and recycled materials.
Regarding a trend which the New York Times calls the “now you see it, now you don’t kitchen,” in which appliances are inserted in hidden systems, Gavazzi said, “The kitchen has become part of the living room; you are cooking while entertaining your guests or being with your family. It becomes visible. The trend is to hide the working area after its use. We have systems where you can tuck the shelf for the plates and the fridge. When you need to wash, you just open up the system.”
Gavazzi attributes Boffi’s success partly to art director Piero Lissoni, who set the vision to make the brand more appealing to today’s market. Moreover, it boasts of an international roster of distinguished designers, such as Naoto Fukasawa of Japan, Norbert Wangen of Germany and Marcel Wanders of the Netherlands.
Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola added a softer touch to Boffi’s aesthetics. “Boffi is more masculine, with straight lines and a black-and-white color scheme. Urquiola brought in warmer colors and more rounded edges,” said Gavazzi.
One of Urquiola’s most lauded designs for Boffi is named Salinas, which veers away from the boxy system. The casual modular kitchen with open shelves is framed in elegant black metal tubes. Tactile lava stone countertops and granite sinks play against metallic panels of copper, brass and zinc. A wooden table with rounded edges doubles as a cutting board. A multitasking central utility rack hides the electrical, plumbing and draining circuits. Plates and live plants are displayed in LED-lit shelves.
“The top can come out for dining. Then you put it back so you can save space,” he said.
Boffi’s most popular product is the Xila, whose simple counter design fits all kinds of spaces. Designed by Luigi Massoni in the 1960s, it’s a sophisticated monolith that works for preparing and cooking, and includes appliances integrated into it.
Gavazzi said Xila is more updated to make it more child-friendly.
While the kitchen line contributes to 70 percent of the business, the bathroom line posts nearly 30 percent. The designs resemble art installations for their strong shapes.
One of the most famous styles was done by Wanders. He did a sculptural bathtub and two basins and a lean pipe for a shower that produces the effect of a strong waterfall. The surge of water comes from a big pump.
Playing with new materials, Bulgarian designer Victor Vasiliev combined paper stone with Corian, a brand of renewable and nonporous solid surface, for the sink and storage.
One of Boffi’s innovations is the bathroom gym which includes a mirror with adjustable bars. “You can set them up for pull-ups or lower them so you can work out your abs. It doesn’t take so much space for the exercise,” added Gavazzi. “The bathroom can be more than it is meant to be.”