SMEG: 10 things to know about the Italian home appliance brand

MAY 23, 2016 | By Pragnya Rao
SMEG’s factory is located in Guastalla, Reggio Emilia, Italy, where they manufacture ovens, hobs and cookers. SMEG expanded its repertoire of products with a range of small appliances in 2014. To celebrate their 30th anniversary, the company refreshed its Classic range of ovens in 2014 envisioned by Italian architect Guido Canali.
Left: The SMEG500 refrigerator (2013) was made with original Fiat car parts, and assembled completely by hand. Right: The exterior design of the FAB28RDMC refrigerator (2015) is reminiscent of ’50s retro style aesthetic. Left: The 24 inch SMEG Electric Oven (1995) features an air-cooled door, eight cooking modes and an analogue clock with a timer with modern, orange numbers. Right: The label’s first appliance named Elizabeth was a free-standing gas cooker produced in 1956.
Unafraid to take risks, SMEG, one of the world’s leading home appliance manufacturers, has long been at the forefront of unconventional design and business ideas. That’s why in a world of polished steel greys and straight lines, their candy pop coloured, curve edged wonders stand out. Established in 1948 by Vittorio Bertazzoni in northern Italy, it is by far one of the most easily recognisable home gadget brands today. We dug into its history to discover some little known facts about the brand.
1. The beginning: SMEG traces its journey back to the 18th century when the Bertazzoni family, who started out as blacksmiths, branched out into building cookers.
2. First launch: They brought out their first product, a free-standing cooker named Elizabeth, in 1956.
3. Innovations galore: SMEG introduced gas cookers that came with an automatic switch-on function, an oven safety valve and cooking programmer/timer – a first of its kind.
4. Like father, like son: In the ’70s Vittorio’s son Roberto Bertazzoni became the president of the company, under whose guidance the business grew progressively.
5. Risky business: In 1997, when the market was full of minimal, stainless steel products, they launched FAB, a curvy retro-looking refrigerator, in cream, red, blue, pastel blue, pastel green, silver, and then, in a bold move, pink.
6. Hollywood appearances: SMEG has made appearances in several Hollywood movies including London Has Fallen, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Mr & Mrs Smith among others.
7. Inventive workspace: Its headquarters has been named among the most innovative in Italy, due to its intelligent consumption management, and sustainable practices.
8. Quirky brilliance: The SMEG500 refrigerator released in 2013, was made with original Fiat car parts, and assembled completely by hand.
9. The philosophy: The core of SMEG’s philosophy is to create products that express the “Made in Italy” language by combining design, performance, and attention to detail.
10. Third generation: In 2007, Vittorio, Roberto’s son took over as the CEO. “We actually can’t imagine doing things differently –this is the brand, my family and my DNA,” exults Vittorio. Today, the brand works with some of the most iconic designers in the industry including, Guido Canali, Mario Bellini and Renzo Piano among others.
Also read: 8 juicers and blenders that will make your mornings a whole lot easier