ELMAR presents SKIN, a project by C+S Architects, from handle design to a new visual and functional language.
Elmar, a historic Italian company founded in 1978 in the province of Treviso, designs, manufactures and markets excellent solutions for kitchen and bathroom environments. Over these decades it has created a solid identity by accepting daily challenges and proposing innovative solutions in a growing path towards contemporary forms and the search for excellence in materials. Experimentation has led Elmar to elaborate avant-garde technical solutions, expanding the potential of the “kitchen space” to the utmost and designing moving systems that break down boundaries to generate a flexible, liquid, eclectic environment that can be the protagonist of the various phases of the day. To develop these unprecedented and ergonomic moving systems, Elmar has always collaborated with architecture and design studios , an open dialogue of exchange and experimentation that over time has become one of the company’s most identifying strengths.
“In particular, in recent years, with the C+S Architects studio we have shifted our focus from the kitchen object to a system of relationships with space, designing and realising programmes capable of reinventing the home through a series of new connections between environments”. Olga Cabrioni, Elmar Director of Design. From this vocation for architectural solutions comes the Skin project by the Venetian studio C+S Architects of Carlo Cappai and Maria Alessandra Segantini, winners of the Italian Architect of the Year Award 2022, internationally renowned for having realised projects on a wide scale: from landscape to urban design, from architecture to interior design.
“We inhabit fluid spaces where rooms, walls, doors have disappeared. We move around the house floating as if between the pages of a tablet. Boundaries and thresholds have shifted towards built in systems that inhabit the home with us and make it work: kitchens, wardrobes… Skin is the name chosen for the new kitchen system by .Elmar. Skin, like skin, is the ‘beautiful necessity’ that envelops the functioning of each system and shows it to the world. And the world admires it, copies it, shows it off by focusing on just one of our senses: sight.” C+S Architects. Is it possible to give back to the skin its deep meaning of threshold, of space of connection between inside and outside? Of protection of a fragile and sophisticated system such as that of our organism? The limit between form and function, that threshold between image and content was the starting point for the design studio of C+S Architects for the new Skin kitchen system previewed during Fuorisalone 23 in the brand’s Milan showroom.
“We searched for that instant, that gesture, that moment in which utilitas (functionality) and venustas (beauty) meet. And we found it in the precise moment when a hand grasps a handle that surrenders its grip. The roots of modern architecture are rooted in detail, which is not style or ornamentation, but is a fundamental element of a sophisticated building knowledge that brought us together with .Elmar. From two different points of view, both we and the company work so that everyone can read in the unicum of the final assembly the uniqueness and poetry of its fragments.” C+S Architects
The element that distinguishes Skin is a new and strong emotional charge given by the design of the handle, an element that can unite or divide opposing spaces, relate or separate. The handle is the moment in which these worlds touch. Everyone has such a direct experience of the handle that they often do not give it due importance, like those automatic gestures we are used to doing without thinking, we go out and in without pausing, but if we go to its essence, the handle is synonymous with freedom. Opening, closing, uncovering, concealing, these are all actions that pass through a handle.
“The handle seeks the hand and adapts to it the better it is designed and made. The thrill of discovery when opening the wine cellar during an informal business meeting, the colours of the vegetables flooding the space while preparing dinner together, the smell of a surprise cake pervading the room… It is that handle, that detail we don’t care about, the small sign that gives us these emotions.” C+S Architects. Rich in symbolic value, in the past handles emphasised main entrances, were invisible to hide secret passages, missing from castle moat doors or mastabas (Egyptian tombs) because they had to keep out enemies the former, evil spirits the latter. Undergoing major transformation processes based on the laws of ergonomics and the technical innovation of industrial production, handles tell their story through smoothness, thickness, surrender or resistance.
In conceiving the new Skin kitchen for .Elmar, C+S Architects started with the handle because it represents that element that connects the kitchen and its skin. The focus is on Skin’s handle, on that detail, that gesture, that grip. The handle draws the structure of Skin. Horizontal. Vertical. Aligned. At intervals. It is a thin line in burnished steel or satin stainless steel. The design of the handle becomes both composition and experience, it marks the composition of the entire system and becomes the key that opens the new model to the world. A present and minimal detail that designs an open structure to be completed freely with a wide range of materials for the doors (available in wood, steel, glass) that open nimbly at the touch of the hand revealing flavours, smells and colours.
Its section, visible when the door is opened and at certain special moments in the composition, tells of the sophisticated and elegant character of Skin, which boasts an open profile, designed to be minute and resistant, easy and pleasant to grip both when used vertically and horizontally, so as to give the system maximum compositional potential. “The Skin system is then a skin in the richest sense of the word. It is thethreshold between two worlds and it is the handle detail of Skin that makes the two worlds meet and create a new visual and functional language.” C+S Architects
The Skin collection completes and broadens the range of Elmar proposals by introducing a true interpretation of handles compatible with all the types of opening on the market today (folding, concealed, hinged, etc.) and proposing elegant tall units with smoked-glass doors with extremely well-equipped interiors. Distinctive are also the islands characterised by a new modularity in height of the base units and by the precious detail of the handle profile that turns with continuity also on the visible sides. The doors are 22 mm thick and are available in all Elmar finishes, from decorative to lacquered, from clays to precious woods. The possibility of being able to customise the kitchen is one of the reasons that makes this new collection contemporary and responds to the market’s desire for a transversal product that can dialogue with fluid spaces and environments that are contaminated by the imagination.
Environmental sustainability. Elmar has always been sensitive to the theme of the environment; from the production site to the LEDs of the finished product, the common thread of environmental sustainability dictates the rules of production. In the production and design strategy, the choice of raw materials and suppliers, the production, recycling and transport phases are developed in full respect of eco-sustainable values. The structures of the furniture are made with ecological Idroleb panel that guarantees the lowest emission of formaldehyde, and the lighting systems foresee the use of LEDs that allow a strong reduction in consumption. Most of the materials used for the kitchen systems are 100 per cent recyclable and 70 per cent of the materials purchased come from suppliers within 100 km of the company. In its production cycle, Elmar makes use of a photovoltaic system that makes it self-sufficient for 60% of the energy used. The company always applies a careful procedure for the collection and disposal of manufacturing waste and optimises the volumes of furniture and accessories during transport.
Elmar is present internationally to become more and more the ideal partner in the worldwide real estate, residential and office business . The Contract division, counts among its recent realisations some in important cities such as Los Angeles, Dubai, Vancouver, Guangzhou, Teheran, New Delhi, London and Geneva. elmarcucine.com