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|Vittorio Bertazzoni, founder. Roberto Bertazzoni, current Chairman and CEO|
Smeg is an Italian manufacturer of upmarket domestic appliances. Vittorio Bertazzoni founded the company in 1948 in the village of Guastalla, Reggio Emilia, Italy. The name is an acronym for Smalterie Metallurgiche Emiliane Guastalla ("Emilian metallurgical enamel works of Guastalla").
The company remains in the private ownership of the Bertazzoni family with its headquarters still in Guastalla. Smeg is best known for its FAB range of 1950s-style, retro refrigerators that have curved corners and come in a variety of non-traditional colors and patterns. The company also manufactures dishwashers (freestanding - available in FAB style, semi-integrated and fully integrated), washing machines, ovens, microwaves, cooktops, freestanding cookers, rangehoods, refrigeration, wine cabinets, in-built coffee machines.
Vittorio Bertazzoni Snr founded Smeg in 1948. The company originally specialised in enamelling and metalwork. It soon began to produce innovative cooking appliances. "Elisabeth", launched in 1956, was one of the first gas ranges to feature automatic ignition, safety valves in the oven and a cooking programmer.
In the 1960s, the washing range was introduced with the production of the first Smeg dishwashers, which soon led to a world premiere in 1970: the first 60 cm wide dishwashers with capacity for 14 place settings. High performance hobs and ovens were then designed and produced from the mid 1970s and, during the 1990s, Smeg completed its product range with the introduction of distinctive sinks and hoods after buying Apell, an Italian manufacturer of extractor hoods, sinks and taps based in Ancona.
Having established itself in the residential sector, Smeg later entered the commercial market. Smeg Food Service manufactures appliances for the professional hotel, restaurant and catering market and Smeg Instruments supplies disinfection equipment to hospitals and dental surgeries.
The design and manufacture of Smeg appliances is concentrated in three factories based in Northern Italy, each specialising in a specific type of appliance. Excluding the United Kingdom, the company operates sixteen subsidiaries (France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, USA, South Africa, Denmark, Australia, Mozambique, Kazakhstan, Poland, Mexico), as well as two representative offices in Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia with a network of distributors around the world. This means that there is some difficulty in obtaining spare parts for badly designed items. An exact part number of the item is required which is printed on a label which can be wiped clean after a short time.
Smeg and designer expertise
Smeg has developed an extensive product collection in collaboration with architects and designers, including Guido Canali (who also designed the company headquarters in Guastalla), Mario Bellini, Renzo Piano and Marc Newson.
FAB retro-style appliances
In 1997, Smeg unveiled their range of retro-style refrigerators. Offered in five colours, the FAB28 bore the distinctive SMEG lettering, deep curved doors and a chunky handle evocative of the 1950s.
Fridge-freezer versions followed and colour options expanded to include pink, yellow, orange and lime plus special editions, including a Union Jack door. Dishwashers and washing machines in complementary styling and colours extended the retro range.
- 2007: Domotica award for the head office, given during Green Architecture week. In the same year, the architect, Guido Canali, was also invested with the Medaglia d’Oro all’architettura italiana by Triennale di Milano for the same design, while Smeg won the Dedalo e Minosse award.
- 2009: Wallpaper Design Award for Newson design oven, organised by Wallpaper magazine.
- 2010: Good Design Award granted by the Chicago Athenaeum, Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies, for their FP610SG oven and the P755SBL hob from the innovative Newson product line.
- 2012: Good Design Award, for Linea range PV175CB hob.
- 2013: Good Design Award, for Linea range SFP140 oven and SMEG500 fridge.
- 2013: Smeg South Africa, Business Enterprise of the year
- 2014: Good Design Award, for Small Domestic Appliances - Stand Mixer SMF01 and Toaster TSF01, Dolce Stil Novo Hob, Wine Cooler and Victoria Range TRU90BL
- 2015: IF product design award, for Small Domestic Appliances - Stand Mixer SMF01 and Toaster TSF01