When you use the term "retro" it often implies styles from a few decades earlier. However, when you are talking about Smeg, the idea goes a bit farther back in time. In fact, it goes back a few centuries. Though Smeg is most recognized in the modern era for its line of retro appliances known as the "FAB" series, the company"s origins date all of the way back to the 17th century.
It was then that the Bertazzoni family of the Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy began working as talented blacksmiths. As technologies progressed, the family turned its skills to the creation of kitchens and the equipment used for traditional Italian cooking.
Fast forward a few centuries, and you"ll find the Bertazzoni family still in this region, but now they are turning their hand at enameling and metalwork. It was in 1948 that Vittoria Bertazzoni started Smeg (which is an acronym for Smalterie Metallurgiche Emiliane Guastalla). This was the era when the company began producing some of the most technologically advanced kitchen appliances of the era.
For example, they were the first to create a gas cooker that featured an automatic switch, a programmer and timer, and a safety valve. By 1963, Smeg had moved beyond refrigerators and was making top of the line laundry machines and dishwashers. They produced the world"s first 14 place dishwasher as early as 1970, and within that same decade the firm was creating some of the first built-in cook tops and wall ovens.
Smeg also innovated by working with the very professionals who were designing the kitchens in need of equipment. They partnered with prestigious designers and architects, and expanded their offerings to accommodate demand.
During the 1990s the firm added one of its most famous product lines - the "FAB" series that features 1950s styled refrigerators and appliances that are still in strong demand. With vintage appeal and a range of colors, they ensure a definitive style wherever they are used.
They also added hoods and sinks to their offerings and expanded into professional divisions for clients in health, medical, and restaurant settings.
The Expansion of Smeg
Though the company is still in private hands, and still operated by the Bertazzoni family, it has expanded operations to many parts of the globe. There are currently more than 15 subsidiary operations in the US, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Holland, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Mozambique, Kazakstan, Denmark, Australia, and South Africa. The firm maintains offices in Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia, as well as maintaining a large number of distributors around the world.
This vast market has allowed the firm to receive a tremendous amount of attention, and Smeg has consistently received industry awards for the past decade. The prices won include the Dedalo and Minosse International Prize, the Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum, the Wallpaper Design Award and many others.
The Smeg Aesthetics
Because of their affiliation with designers and architects, and because they keep in touch with the demands of the industry, the Smeg products all have the appearance of appliances that are ahead of their time while also providing classic service. Clients interested in their current lines will have a few
aesthetic options from which to choose. These include:
50s Retro Style
In addition to the good looks and high-tech features of Smeg appliances, the firm has a solid commitment to eco-friendly policies. In fact, they are often referred to as a "symbol" of the green approach to their industry. Demanding that products become increasingly efficient, its headquarters has won awards for its energy efficiency and "bio-architecture" and for integrating some of the most modern in automated technologies.
The "responsible design" of all Smeg appliances incorporates not only energy efficiency in operation, but also in the entire lifecycle. Materials are chosen for easy recycling, hazardous materials are avoided beyond established guidelines, and sustainable production is a priority.
The company chooses to use only recyclable packaging, explores all options for alternative transport, and has considered every option for increasing the eco-friendly possibilities throughout their production process.
With centuries of craftsmanship and dedication to their trade and with modern thinking guiding their every decision, Smeg is a remarkable example of innovation and art.
SmegUSA. Green Policies. SmegUSA.com. 2014. http://www.smegusa.com/company/green-policies/