Very Simple Kitchen: the kitchen as a product
When Riccardo Randi and Federica Poluzzi conceived Very Simple Kitchen, they envisioned a product rather than mere laminated panels assembled to house utensils and appliances
It was several years ago that I met Riccardo Randi and Federica Poluzzi at an Old Wild West restaurant in Pesaro. They arrived in a white Fiat Scudo adorned with bold black lettering: “Very Simple Kitchen.”
This marked the beginning of their journey as they crisscrossed Italy in search of manufacturing partners for their innovative kitchen concept. This year, they unveiled their rebranding effort, collaborating with Simple Flair and working alongside Form Us With Love. It’s been quite a development, but not entirely unexpected.
When I first encountered their kitchen, it struck me as revolutionary for several reasons.
I’ve never been particularly fond of kitchens, at least not the ones produced by leading companies. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but they all seem rather homogenous to me. Very Simple Kitchen, on the other hand, exuded a different charm. It stood out not just due to its material (constructed from metal) but also because of its approach. It leaned more toward being a product than merely a functional space.
There was an inexplicable quality about it that made me feel good whenever I laid eyes on it, akin to the sensation of belonging one might feel toward a Mini Cooper or a Berkel slicer.
I had a conversation with Riccardo to gain a deeper understanding of how this all came to be.
He explained that it all began with his thesis for his design degree. He had initially collaborated with a brand during his academic years to design a kitchen, but the project didn’t gain traction. However, the idea remained dormant until he decided to create a prototype.
During this period, he won a design contest that allowed him to showcase his kitchen at Maison & Objet in Paris. The kitchen immediately garnered attention, partly due to a feature in Elle Decor France, and people started purchasing it.
While it may seem straightforward when told this way, the journey was anything but easy. When he arrived in France, Riccardo was determined to present himself as a well-established brand. Everything was meticulously in place: a compelling name, a coordinated image, and a genuinely marketable product. Success followed naturally as a consequence of their meticulous work.
This achievement is particularly noteworthy given that Riccardo lacked a business background.
The truth is, creating a great product requires a brilliant concept. When Riccardo conceived Very Simple Kitchen, he envisioned a product rather than mere laminated panels assembled to house utensils and appliances. It was designed to be a stand-alone, modular metal kitchen. The idea of an online configurator was integral to the concept from the very beginning.
It’s easy to perceive something as effortless once it’s been brought to life, but the reality is quite different. Riccardo drew inspiration from workbenches, enhancing their functionality and aesthetic appeal for the kitchen environment. This ingenious connection had the perfect formula for success in this role.
The attraction to a product is a deeply personal matter. I often liken it to the way people are drawn to music, with multiple layers of appreciation. Some are attracted to an artist’s songs without necessarily understanding why, while others, like trained musicians, appreciate the nuances of sound, notes, and interpretation. There are a select few artists who can evoke sensations in both the general public and connoisseurs. In this case, both designers and consumers experience a positive connection with the product, whether they are aware of the specifics or not.
Their approach did not go unnoticed within the design community. Riccardo shared that they received numerous requests from designers seeking their kitchen solutions. Furnishing the homes and offices of designers became a networking opportunity, spreading their influence within a highly selective world.
One notable collaboration was with Form Us With Love, one of Europe’s most renowned studios for furniture and lighting. It began with a simple desire to purchase their kitchen and culminated in a complete installation at the Convey Space during the Milan Design Week 2023.
Visitors were invited to mark their favorite kitchen accessories, identifying the “must-have” items for their homes. It was amusing to witness the seamless connection between this esteemed design firm and a company based in the picturesque Italian city of Bologna, perhaps the best place to savor culinary delights in the entire country. Maybe it’s not just a coincidence that the finest kitchen design brand hails from there.
The future of Very Simple Kitchen appears poised for expansion beyond kitchens, as indicated by their new brand identity with the two dots: Very Simple: Kitchen. This suggests that we can anticipate exciting developments in the near future.