There’s a region in Italy north of Milan where some of life’s finer things—such as Parmigiano Reggiano, balsamic vinegar, prosciutto, and top-notch sports cars—are born. That’s Emilia-Romagna, and just outside Parma, in the town of Guastalla, is where Bertazzoni builds high-end appliances.
The 6,500-square-foot experiential showroom, designed by Turin-based architect Carlo Malerba, is a sleek, modern-yet-understated space that includes a fascinating museum chronicling the history of the brand from the first rustic wood burning stoves to the latest high-tech models. There’s a beautiful test kitchen where visitors may arrange to sample foods prepared using Bertazzoni equipment.
On the Casa Bertazzoni entrance wall are the words “Family. Food. Engineering.”—the three guiding principles, say the family members who lead the company.
Five generations of Bertazzonis have run the firm; currently father Paolo is CEO, son Nicola is VP of global sales, and daughter Valentina is head of design and branding.
The company manufactures fine kitchen appliances and has been honing the craft since 1882. Back then the family business was making scales for the area’s cheese and pharmaceutical makers.
But Francesco Bertazzoni and his Antonio took note of the wood-burning stoves used for heating railcars and began making their own, which they were soon distributing throughout Italy.
From that first factory in 1909, they expanded in the 1920s as the wood-burning cookers—sold under the name La Germania at that time—began to win awards of excellence.
Francesco’s grandson Napoleone started adopting the motor industry’s mass production techniques to the kitchen. In the 1950s, gas range production started, and the efficient, non-messy cooking method meant sales took off worldwide.
In 2001, Bertazzoni began using the Toyota manufacturing model in their factory. Instead of mass-producing ranges and other products to stockpile in a warehouse awaiting orders, the company stocks parts and assembles as orders arrive.
The system allows production to be nimble and quick, at lower cost, without giving up quality. That’s meant Bertazzoni can offer a high-end appliance that’s not as pricey as others in its category. "The components that make Bertazzoni a luxury brand start with the materials,” says Valentina.
Ranges are molded from single sheets of stainless steel. Soft-close door hinges allow for one-handed operation, and triple-glazed insulation minimizes heat loss. Precision extends to the signature dual-control power burners, ignition systems, and electric fans so heat and airflow is balanced.
“From handpicked stainless steel that’s truly best-in-class, Bertazzoni appliances are built not only to last, but to look and function beautifully,” the company says.
Besides traditional steel, the appliances are offered in a spectrum of hues, including orange, red, and cream—all colors found in the Mediterranean region. And the paint process is inspired by the automotive industry, too.
Rather than be finished with an automated powder coating, Bertazzoni’s Professional Series is painted by skilled craftspeople who apply the paint, then seal it with a gloss lacquer for a smooth, well-protected surface. The result: the highest degree of light reflection, depth, and color richness—similar to that of a sports car finish.
Today, the factory produces about 200,000 pieces per year, sold in more than 70 countries. The line includes free-standing ranges, built-in cooktops and ovens, vent hoods, fridges, and dishwashers.
They’ve won numerous awards, including 100 Examples of Italian Excellence Award and Golden A’Design Award in 2016, as well as several “Best of” accolades in the North American market.
Venice, Italy-based architect and interior designer Elisabetta Rizzato says she appreciates Bertazzoni’s ranges, and the quality of their materials. “I would say [their] ranges are modern, but also timeless,” she says. “A Bertazzoni kitchen is designed to last a long time, not only in terms of materials but also in terms of design. They don’t follow current trends, but have a unique and recognizable style.”