A STORIED EUROPEAN COMPANY SHOWS OFF ITS DISTINCT KITCHEN INTERIORS IN A NEW SOUTH BROOKLYN SHOWROOM
BY ERIK SCHONING • PHOTOS BY AMANDA DOMENECH
One of New York City’s many and deserved boasts is that we sport North America’s largest population of Italian Americans (the first, incidentally, was the Venetian sailor Pietro Cesare Alberti, who made a home in what was then New Amsterdam in 1635), and Italian artistry and spirit has informed this city in ways too numerous to detail. It’s with this in mind that Scavolini the famed design company launched 58 years ago in Pesaro on the Adriatic coast and known for its kitchen, living room, and bathroom pieces set up shop in Bath Beach, along the southwestern shore of the borough.
“Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, these are Italian neighborhoods,” said Abdel Tarchid, who manages the Brooklyn showroom. “They know Scavolini, they know the European brands. They know European kitchens, so this was an ideal location.”
A bit of history: After World War II, industrial production and mass made furniture took off in Italy, a trend that led to the popularizing of stylish and minimalist furniture around the world (many aspiring makers traveled there both to study and work). Its design epicenter ultimately became Milan, and arguably its most important early thinker was the architect, industrial designer, and furniture designer, Giovanni “Gio” Ponti. Among his many contributions to style was Ponti’s enthusiastic embrace of modernism (even preceding the war), but with softened and rounded lines juxtaposed with hard angles, an aesthetic seen particularly vividly in his furniture pieces. His influence continues to this day.
Scavolini is heir to that tradition, though its lines include all manner of looks. With the continued popularity of the sleek, the minimal, and the uncluttered, it has retained a relevance that’s classic without being dated.
To appreciate design, of course, one needs to both see and feel the results, and that’s why Scavolini operates now three sales destinations in the city (the others in Midtown and Soho); in fact, the company chose New York as its first U.S. location 18 years ago, though it has since expanded across the country. The Brooklyn location, Tarchid explained, has the additional advantage of being convenient for those in Staten Island, New Jersey, and Long Island the Verrazano Bridge and Belt Parkway only minutes away. (“We catch all that clientele that used to go all the way into Manhattan,” he said.)
The Bath Beach site also houses ample square footage its well-lit and spacious displays (21 in all) include expansive and complete room layouts suitable for large homes, but Scavolini also has a line of smaller kitchens with smartly designed, space saving cabinetry ideal for typical Brooklyn living.
The process at Scavolini, like its designs, is artistry fueled. The company still builds furniture in Italy, a detail that allows it to oversee the process in ways that other business models preclude. For example, Tarchid is able to communicate directly with the factory in Pesaro to make sure that everything is built according to each customer’s specifications. This matters when shipping furniture across the Atlantic, especially because a kitchen remodel represents such a major investment.
Designs, distinctly Italian, run the gamut from the most stripped down and austere to the baroque and rustic. The Belvedere collection, for example, looks as though it belongs in a Tuscan country home a kitchen designed to be full of people and life. But there’s also the Liberamente collection, one of Scavolini’s more popular minimal designs and akin to those seen in 1960s era films set in Rome with muted colors, glossy cabinets, and wide, bare countertops.
Appliances, too, are selected in advance as part of the design process, in order to guarantee harmony between a space and the objects that fill it. A homeowner who has been through the remodeling process will appreciate the headache this saves getting everything from one place. Plus, there’s plenty of help along the way.
“The client will tell me what they want, but sometimes it doesn’t work with the design or it’s not the best fit,” Tarchid said. “It’s up to us to help them choose products that work and go perfectly with the cabinets.”
Scavolini remains a well-known name back in Italy, where the company even sponsors sports teams. It also is a leader in sustainability; in the years between 2010 and 2018, it unveiled Sunload, an energy system that includes two photovoltaic plants totalling 40,000 square meters of solar panels. It’s part of a goal, the company explained in a press statement, “to use only energy obtained from renewable sources in all business.” Enthusiasts can also grab the book Scavolini 1961 2011: 50 Years of Kitchens: (Skira, 2011), which is available on artbook.com for $65.
“I’m an architect myself, so I knew Scavolini as a teenager,” Tarchid said. “The quality of the product makes you more than proud to represent the company. I’m con dent when I tell customers that they’re getting a kitchen that will stay in their house for at least 20 years.”
Scavolini Store Brooklyn
1870 Bath Avenue / 718.249.1214