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ILVE : The Italian Way

There’s little point in owning something that works perfectly, if it doesn’t look good too. Capiche?

ILVE : The Italian Way


June 16th, 2017

When it comes to cooking and design, function is never enough. Sure, for an industrial oven, a plain box might get the job done, but for the modern design hunter, there needs to be a little bit more. After all, how can you be expected to create a beautiful meal, if the tools you use don’t inspire beauty?

And why is it that so often the source of that inspiration is Italian?

Still considered the undisputed gold standard in the finest craftsmanship and the most delicate of forms, the Italian design world is renowned for producing objects – be they furniture, lighting, accessories, appliances, buildings (!) – that seem to have a certain… pennacchio. The music of the streets, the rolling hillsides, the beautiful canals, the evening passeggiata… maybe Italy’s own rhythm and beauty inspires her designers. For several thousand years, the dramatic landscapes of the Italian peninsula have proved fruitful for architecture and design. An Italian – Vasari – in fact, is credited as the progenitor of the discipline of architecture. And any number of townships, be they small or large, along the Italian coast burst at the seams with the beauty and finesse of a quintessentially ‘Italian’ craftsmanship. After all, this small pocket of land is responsible for the Renaissance: a historical movement which dragged us out of the Dark Ages through the power and visionary potential of art, design and architecture. Perhaps there’s more credence than we might otherwise expect in the saying “one does not come to Italy for niceness […] but for life, for art”.

The designers at ILVE are proof of this lifegiving potential for design to inspire new emotional and interpersonal connections: between objets d’art, between communities, between ourselves. As a perfect synthesis of form and function, ILVE’s products appear to attract a diehard group of devotees: those who elevate design beyond the mere appreciation of material objects to a veritable way of living. Such an almost evangelical devotion seems to emanate from the origin of the product itself, alongside the very life and soul of a country, its people and their unmatched bravado and joy. Handmade in a state-of-the-art factory near Venice, ILVE’s master craftsmen make cookers with commercial grade heritage, designed for the very best Italian kitchens. Founded in 1952 in the Venetian town of Campodarsego, ILVE has fostered not necessarily objects of design, but a philosophy of design for more than sixty-five years. For more than four generations, that is, the families of Illotti and Berno – the original founders of the brand – have infused their passion of fine food, the importance of family and community, with state-of-the-art handcrafted manufacturing capabilities, to satisfy a consistently growing desire for unique cookers designed for domestic use.

Situated equally in the heart, the home and, thus also our private lives, ILVE is uniquely positioned at the apex of where people come together to connect and commune. ILVE’s cognoscenti will talk of the special relationship they have developed with their cooker of choice, in a manner akin to the relationships some people have with luxury cars or motorbikes. The love for cooking for family and friends is somehow enriched by the Italian spirit and helps to turn the everyday meal into something truly special. For the ILVENISTA there is only one way – and it is Handmade in Italy. Throughout the latter decades of the 20th Century, ILVE’s signature handcrafted ovens and cookers were reimagined through several iterations. Based largely on their country-style ovens (with their characteristic rustic charm and iron and enamelled materials), the brand launched NOSTALGIE in 1975 to popular acclaim. Increasing the range’s manufacturing capacity throughout the 1980s, halfway through that decade, the brand touched down in Australia, bringing the spirit of European style to Australian homes, becoming renowned from that day to this for an incredible degree of handcrafted finesse.

Today, the brand may be sixty years older, and yet time has failed to weary the Illoti and Berno families who still remain at the helm of this Italian company. From the blue flame of the solid brass burners which burned brightly in 1954, to those same flames of today, the lustre of ILVE’s design philosophy has neither waned nor dulled. Whether it’s the cool, smooth touch of their oven hardware or the drama and ‘bravado’ of teppanyaki cooking, both the ILVENISTA and the master craftsmen and craftswomen behind each and every piece of ILVE’s range understand that the legacy of an Italian sensibility is suffused into every nut, bolt, handle, slick of enamel or inch of iron plating in every ILVE kitchen.

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