The years of political power struggles, terrorism and social unrest firmly behind it, with the advent of the Eighties a brand new cultural chapter opened for Italy. Disenchanted by the ideologies of the '70s, young people had jettisoned the political scene and now embraced a more private and individualistic approach to life. These were lackadaisical years marked by an exciting economic boom and widespread wealth leading in turn to the birth of fashions and fads which cantered on the cult of image and appearance. Excessive looks and outrageous trends ruled the day, such as: backcombed hairstyles and perms, with headbands, ruffles or wide sashes; slouchy jackets in bright colours, massive padded shoulders and highrise jeans turned up practically to the mid-calf. And then again fishnet tights, lace gloves, armfuls of bracelets and flashy diamanté crucifixes inspired by the videoclips of Madonna who began her long career back in the '80s.
But the fashion of the '80s wasn't only eccentricity, street style or punk rock. It was also the style of a career woman who finally started to occupy prestigious positions in the workplace and aspired to be a man's equal. And this was the woman who Armani wanted to dress, creating gender-blending suits with powerful shoulders. She was a confident and luxury-loving woman who doted on the many major Italian designers, to name but a few Ferré and Versace.
And these new fashion trends soon trickled down to the sector of interior décor and design. Most certainly one of the most inspirational phenomena of those years was the Memphis movement, a group of young architects in Milan; under the wing of Ettore Sottsass, they presented bizarre projects with an original and “baroque” flair, openly challenging society's conventional ideas about living spaces.
In the meantime, back at Snaidero, close and prolific collaboration projects continued with the major designers of Italian industrial design.
For the Eighties, the special editions bore the prestigious signature of Giovanni Offredi, who with his impeccable taste and aesthetic sensitivity, was deservedly one of the most acclaimed architects of his time. He breathed life into the new kitchens Krios, Kalia, Pragma, Elementi and Contralto, each of which was highly innovative and technological in its own way. The novelty of the Krios project stemmed from the wood coating system, which took place with a hand spray technique. Paints with superior resin contents were used, ensuring an incredibly smooth mirror-like surface, devoid of flaws and irresistibly glossy. An effect which was in step with the fashions of the time - even sunglasses were mirrored!
These kitchens boasted bright, vivid and lustrous colours, just like the images coming from the newfangled commercial TV stations; buoyant notes broadcast by the various channels, including the music channels which often favoured disco music. Non-Italian idols like Madonna, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Europe, Duran Duran and other trendy bands all flooded the airwaves at the time.
In 1986, Offredi designed a second kitchen for Snaidero called Kalia, featuring a ground-breaking curved sink top and in 1988 Contralto came onto the scene; a model destined for success due to the masterful union of linear shapes and rounded, spherical elements which would become the innovative and distinctive trait for that era and a trademark for decades in the future.
And the story is still nowhere near the end…
Snaidero's photographic archive
Wikimedia Commons archive
Moodboard n.1: apart from the Snaidero kitchen, Madonna poses on her cover version “Like a Virgin”, Giorgio Armani and his creations as worn by the model Gia Carangi; Gianni Versace with the top models Karen Mudler, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer and Carla Bruni.
Moodboard n.2: Snaidero kitchens, the Krios and Galaxy models, Cyndi Lauper, Duran Duran and a collection of objects by the Menphis Milano group
Moodboard n.3: Snaidero kitchens, Kalia models and Contralto by Giovanni Offredi.