The premium kitchen brand strengthens its position in Singapore even as it continues to redefine the kitchen, writes Rachel Lee-Leong.
Arclinea planted its first flag in Asia in Singapore in 1996. Now, the brand has just launched its new flagship store at Winsland House II.
The 110sqm street-level store is set to serve as the central point for Arclinea in the region, just as the brand’s Milan and New York operations have set the standards for Europe and the US, respectively.
Convivium (2002) is Arclinea’s best-selling range
Indeed, the store is a fitting milestone marking Arclinea’s 16 years in Singapore. In town for the official opening of the store, Arclinea’s CEO Dr Silvio Fortuna sits with Indesignlive.asia to talk about the 87-year-old company’s evolution, the future of kitchens and what the brand will be offering at this year’s upcoming EuroCucina in Milan.
Lignum et Lapis
How does Arclinea reconcile the tradition of craft it first started out with and the innovative technology it is now known for?
We are not talking about craft, but creativity. [Previously], creativity was part of the domain of craft – the artisan is a creative man. But so is the manufacturing man. Now, we are talking about creativity in industrialisation.
At the same time, many processes in the company are not possible to industrialise completely. The human touch is very important. Look at all the teak doors. You cannot do that with a machine. You need a person to match the grains. It’s like a tailor.
What is the kitchen of the future?
In the future, more and more people will live in metropolises. So that means to have less space available. It’s important that we design kitchens to give people the opportunity to live large in small spaces.
Another important trend from Europe and the US – but I think it will be a global trend – is a healthy way of life. Once processed food was recognised as progress, modern science. But this artificiality now means poverty of the spirit. For Arclinea, we have Lignum et Lapis, which is about natural materials.
Indoor Miniature Greenhouse
Are there different trends when it comes to the Asian kitchen as opposed to the European kitchen?
We previously took some ways of thinking in Asia and brought it to Europe. And some concepts are moving from Europe or the US to Asia. They are not separate trends – it’s more and more global.
What are some Asian ideas for the kitchen that you’ve implemented in Europe?
In Asia you have a wet kitchen and a dry kitchen. So in Europe, we presented in 1998 a concept of separation from preparation of food and cooking. Cooking was done on the island; preparation was separated by a closet system. People like the possibility of hiding everything, but maintaining functionality. That’s a concept we learnt from Asia.
The first time we started selling in Asia, we decided to include the ring for the wok on our cooktop. People [in Europe] thought, ‘What is that?’ because people didn’t know what a wok was. Now, everybody knows!
Any clues on what Arclinea will be presenting at Eurocucina this year?
An outdoor kitchen. It’s a specific product that can stay at the seaside. We are using a specific stainless steel [that is usually used] for marine use – a kitchen you can put underwater without problem. A real outdoor kitchen!
When did the idea for an outdoor kitchen come about?
3 to 4 years ago. But we had to find the appliances in the right material because you need the appliances made in the same stainless steel. We have created these in collaboration with an appliance company. Now, we are ready.
Top image: Convivium