2016 saw Smeg begin its collaboration with world-renowned fashion house, Dolce & Gabbana. The fruits of this artistic collaboration have quickly become iconic in the eyes of the industry and consumer audience.
From the smaller kitchen appliances of the ‘Sicily is my Love’ to the newer, even more extraordinary ‘Frigorifero d’Arte’ range of fridges, the decadent pieces are all hand painted and feature classic Sicilian-style artworks, including provincial symbols such as lemons, the trinacria flag, cart wheels, medieval knights and battle scenes. The careful craftsmanship and artistry is usually kept tightly under wraps; but we’re peeking behind the curtain and taking a look at the ‘labour of love’ that went into making these resplendent creations, and meeting the minds behind it all…
A bit about the artists
Since 1973 the Patania family have been making the traditional Sicilian Pupi, the famous puppet, in San Giovanni la Punta, Catania. Synonymous with professionalism, creativity and tradition, the Patanias have built an artisan business which has Sicilian tradition and unique charm at its core.
These ‘treasures of the past’ are refined, harmonious and unique objects. They are the result of a passion for the craft, a sense of belonging to their land and a meticulous love for quality materials.
Salvatore Sapienza was born in Catania in 1980. His passion for the decorative arts started when he was only 13 years old. His story as a decorator of Sicilian carts began by chance, when he painted an old wheel. After restoring the wheel and painting it, his father showed it to two veteran decorators. It was the beginning of a long story about art, love and craftsmanship and luckily has never ended.
Born in Catania in 1975, Alice still lives and works in the city. She graduated in Conservazione dei Beni Culturali di Pisa and then returned to Sicily where she trained in the Maestro Domenico di Mauro in Aci Sant’Antonio, the prestigious workshop of Sicilian carts.
The Bevilacqua Brothers
Ceramica Bevilacqua is a family-run artisan workshop based in inland Sicily, Caltanissetta. Since 1997, artists Antonio and Giuseppe, who are also brothers, have sought inspiration in Sicilian majolica and the island’s traditional decorations. Yet, all their work is extremely recognisable and bears their personal touch – a blend of bright yellow, intense blue, emerald green and deep black, representing the Sicilian sun, sea, hills and the lava on Mount Etna.
Adriana Zambonelli and Tiziana Nicosia
Adriana and Tiziana, mother and daughter, brought together by an incredible passion for the land they were born and raised in. Born respectively in 1977 and 1950, both Sicilian and both from, Catania, they work together in a volcanic symbiosis, forming an explosive couple.
Biagio Castilletti and Damiano Rotella
Biagio Castilletti was born in Ragusa Ibla in 1974. As the grandson of a Sicilian cart driver, he had a great admiration for carts ever since he was a child.
Biagio met the young Damiano Rotella in 2003, when Damiano was working as an apprentice in the workshop of Di Mauro and Zappalà, in Aci Sant’Antonio. Since then the professional lives of the two artists became entwined.
The ‘Frigorifero d’Arte’ collection began with plain-coloured Smeg FAB28 fridges, which became the canvas for the artists to transform.
Only 100 of the ‘Frigorifero d’Arte’ fridges were created during the collaboration. Each is completely one of a kind, and beautifully balances the functionality of Smeg’s FAB28 model with traditional Sicilian artistry.
The intricate decorations focus on traditional aesthetics, and are finished with embellished floral motifs. The uniquely-designed refrigerators took hundreds of man hours to complete and are sold purely at the company’s the Harrods concession and the brand’s new two-storey St James store.
For a closer look, see our range of behind-the-scenes images (below) that delve into the depths of the manufacturing and artist process…
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