“I can safely say that I would never have designed kitchen cabinets if I hadn't been approached by Snaidero. We brought to the table a wealth of experience in formal aesthetics, recognised worldwide in the motor vehicle field. The meeting of ideas was found in the desire to see if we could translate our background of history and technological knowledge into designing a kitchen as if it were a machine for living in, i.e. form and function. And I must admit that Snaidero was at the cutting edge in every department”. This is how Paolo Pininfarina described the immediate understanding that clicked into place between his industrial design agency and Snaidero in 1990.
The statement of intent at the base of the prestigious collaboration between the two brands was to overcome the now standardised look that kitchens made by various different manufacturers tended to have at the time. The modular compositions were becoming more and more uniform and could almost only be distinguished from one another by the details: the type of handle, the treatment method for the doors, the finishes in laminate, lacquer or wood... So Rino Snaidero and Paolo Pininfarina decided to get past this, to start to listen again and to try to understand the new demands of the public. Then to respond to their demands with suitable products that fulfilled their new contemporary, functional and aesthetic needs.
This led to “Ola”, a design characterised by a strong architectural component and three-dimensional layout. This was an extremely innovative kitchen with a lean and contemporary design, at once dynamic and intimately classical. The absence of decorative frills and the extremely clean look plastically combined with the results of a profound study in ergonomics, creating maximum functionality. Everything - for example the hood, the sink and the storage capacity - was designed so that each individual element could be used correctly and easily, as with the overall whole. “Ola” was immediately a great success, with both the public and the critics. In addition to the flattering sales figures was the pride of seeing the design awarded the prestigious Chicago Athenaeum design award in 1996.
“Ola” was followed by another kitchen aptly named “Viva”. Here Snaidero and Pininfarina embarked on an intriguing and sensual journey into colours and materials. Materials such as glass and steel were used in an innovative and highly contemporary way. In this particular aspect the decisive contribution made by the Pininfarina studio, specialised in automobile design, came to the fore. The glass in the “Viva” wall units, for example, is curved like a windshield. It was created using techniques taken directly from automobile design. With “Ola” and “Viva” Snaidero brought a pleasant and empathetic line of kitchens to the market, in perfect synchrony with the Company claim: “Relax, it's a Snaidero”.
In the meantime, it was time to celebrate two important events, which were both extremely significant for the Company. In 1996 the Company celebrated its 50th anniversary. In the same year, this splendid anniversary was joined by another, the 75th birthday of Cavalier Rino Snaidero. He chose this moment to announce his well-deserved retirement, leaving the Company chairmanship to one of his sons, Edi, who was already chief executive officer.
Under the guidance of Edi, a mechanical engineer who had worked at the Company since 1984, Snaidero began another important period of development. Its internal structure was reorganised and optimised, strategic acquisitions of other companies were brought to a conclusion and the Company became even more focused on technological research. Last but not least, the Company's entire manufacturing process was globally certified according to the new European Regulations. Like father, like son...