Since the renaissance, Florence, Italy, has been known for its culture of artisanal excellence. So, when Edgardo Osorio, founder and creative director of the luxury women’s footwear brand Aquazzura, wanted to create a one-of-a-kind kitchen in his historic residence, he commissioned Florentine kitchen fabricator Officine Gullo to bring his creative vision to life.
The family-owned company combines traditional craftsmanship with modern technology to produce custom-designed luxury metal kitchens full of unique details—precisely what Osorio was looking for to make his vibrant, garden-themed concept a reality. “I’ve never been a big fan of kitchen environments, and for this reason, I wanted to design one where spending time was a pleasure,” says Osorio.
Inspired by a hand-painted mural he had seen at a villa in Milan, Osorio used 18th-century botanical drawings to plan a kitchen filled with color that represented different seasons of the year. When he discovered Officine Gullo, he was captivated by the detail and craftsmanship of the manufacturer’s luxury home kitchens, which are tailored to each client’s unique needs and creative inspiration. Every piece that Officine Gullo produces is made in Florence’s signature metalwork style, using noble metals like stainless steel, aluminum, brass, nickel and burnished copper. Colors for the powder coating likewise can be customized to the customer’s tastes, creating one-of-a-kind installations that combine both function and artistry.
Osorio collaborated with Andrea Gullo, director of Officine Gullo, to create a playful yet elegant kitchen in Aquazzura’s signature turquoise for the first floor of his apartment, housed in a 15th-century palace on the Grand Canal in the prestigious San Marco district of Venice. The counters, drawers, long range hood and appliance facades for Osorio’s imaginative project were expertly forged at Officine Gullo’s factory, located 10 kilometers outside of Florence in Chianti. There, the company’s highly skilled artisans forged and painted the metal, hammered nickel trim and engraved Aquazzura’s signature pineapple logo onto stove knobs and drawer pulls. The professional-grade kitchen furnishings seamlessly complement Osorio’s brightly lit space, the walls of which are hand decorated with exotic animals and colorful vegetation that recall motifs of fine 18th-century Chinese porcelain.
“The tailor-made project suits Edgardo’s superlative aesthetic tastes and his culinary habits,” says Gullo. “In the meantime, the kitchen had to fit perfectly into the amazing environment of his apartment in Venice. This is what sartorial means to Officine Gullo and perfectly reflects his production methods.”
The project’s success has led to the creation of a limited-edition series of hand-painted cooking appliances decorated with Aquazzura’s vibrant patterns, which the two Florentine brands will present together in September 2022 at the Fuorisalone, part of Milan’s design week. Available at Officine Gullo’s showrooms worldwide, the custom culinary series includes Fiorentina ranges in two sizes, hand-painted with a floral decoration made exclusively for Aquazzura’s new Home Collection. The 36-inch range features blush tones with nickel finishes, and the 48-inch range is decorated with green tones and brass finishes.
“The collaboration for the new capsule collection represents all the common values that our two brands share—their constant search for beauty and perfection in details, a signature of Florentine craftsmanship,” says Gullo.
The limited-edition series comes on the heels of Officine Gullo’s new retail partnership with iconic kitchen brand Smallbone and the opening of a second London showroom last winter. The Florentine company also kicked off the new year with the launch of a second West Coast showroom in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, with plans to open a cooking school at the location. Notes U.S. general manager Matteo Gullo, the goal was to design a space that not only serves as a showroom but also as a place where clients can create exceptional dishes while becoming familiar with the kitchen manufacturer’s models and materials.
Balancing tradition and modernity, every Officine Gullo creation tells a different story, and the bespoke kitchen design firm continues to keep Florence’s rich artisanal culture alive. *
Leslie J. Thompson is a Dallas-based freelance writer with a passion for interior design and international travel. Read more of her work at lesliejthompson.com.