“Only by managing to give form, content and expressive meaning to the external appearance, can the result be considered as positive”

In the 1960s, starting with the architect Virgilio Forchiassin (Trieste, 1945), Snaidero began a series of collaborations with the great Italian design houses. It was a pioneering decision for those times; there were very few companies at the time that turned to the world of industrial design in a structured way in order to redesign the domestic space. It was very soon revealed to be a rewarding decision however, as the Company’s many national and international awards testify.

Even the name of the model, “Spazio Vivo” (Living Space), evokes Forchiassin and Snaidero’s ambitions for this kitchen. To create a dynamic environment that was at the same time carefully optimised in terms of storage space. Presented at the “Salone del Mobile” in Milan in 1968, “Spazio Vivo” unveiled – at least thirty years ahead of the other manufacturers – a functional and alternative layout for the various components with respect to the usual rows along the wall. This is why the kitchen was chosen as a design that symbolised the tense search for innovative stylistic and ergonomic solutions typical of the time. This was then consecrated by its inclusion in the permanent collection of the “MoMa” in New York, one of the most important museums of modern art and design in the world. Because of its innovative stylistic solutions it was defined as “a kitchen with profound implications, able to revolutionise the way space is used as well as family relationships, thanks to its innovative solutions”.

Almost 40 years later, this kitchen’s capacity for innovation was recognised once again. In 2011 the “MoMa” in New York included it in an important exhibition entitled “Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen”. The exhibition explored the transformation that occurred in the kitchen during the 20th century. Considered as a kind of barometer of social and technological change in the 20th century, it showed how the kitchen became a space charged with symbolic meaning and practical relevance.

The reality of the kitchen is not just the one imagined by designers however. It is completed by the human element with which it dynamically relates. This theme was also explored in the exhibition in New York, via photographs, multimedia works and installations. All these different elements were used to show how the kitchen – from the late 1960s onwards and by virtue of its symbolic value – also conditioned artistic practice, triggering heated economical and political debate. With its functional and stylistic solutions, “Spazio Vivo” was a large player at that particular time, also by virtue of its extremely contemporary nature. So much so in fact that it came to represent the “forbidden dream” of emancipation of many Italian women during the economic boom.