Zucchetti’s success story first began in a small foundry in Valduggia (in the province of Vercelli) set up by Alfredo Zucchetti in 1929. Today the Zucchetti.Kos Group, led by the third generation, Elena and Carlo, with cousins Marco and Paolo Zucchetti, consists of 4 factories and a logistics centre covering a total of 72,000 square metres, employing 400 people and producing 2 million articles every year.
The basic values of Zucchetti have always been innovation, design, and quality: the essential cornerstones that have guided the firm throughout its history. After an early ‘experimental’ phase manufacturing industrial valves and fittings, in 1950 the factory was converted to produce fully chromed tapware. In the early 1950s the firm brought in Alfredo’s son Mario, an enlightened entrepreneur who went on to lead the company for nearly fifty years. Mario undertook a major expansion of the production, technological and commercial facilities, and completed the large new headquarters at Gozzano (in the province of Novara) which he equipped with advanced manufacturing facilities. Under Mario’s direction the Zucchetti brand exhibited at all the most important international trade fairs. During the post-1945 reconstruction period, Mario conquered foreign markets by opening the first Zucchetti export office in Milan, and then in 1958 came the first significant overseas contracts; Canada and Australia became important new markets for the firm.In 1970 was founded the second company of the Group, Zucchetti Mario S.p.A., specialized in hot forging of brass and other metal alloys. While Omez S.p.A. dedicated to molding of plastics, was established in 1983.
These were the seventies when the company begins its journey through the world of design. Mario Zucchetti, president of the new Zucchetti SpA, strongly believed in the importance of the design image of any product, as a synthesis of innovative technical and aesthetic values expressed through the content of the product itself: the assumption of excellence in its formal and substantive qualities.
In 1975 Zucchetti entered the world of design with the first Italian-made range of ceramic disks single lever mixers: Zetamix 6000, designed by Studio Nizzoli. This was followed by the Coriandoli range, the Zetamix 3000 single lever mixer range, and in 1989 the Magia range, by Barbieri and Marianelli. With these projects Zucchetti brought innovation to the field of tapware, flooding it with new colours and finishes, and laying the foundations of the design-led path it has followed ever since.
In 2000 came the Spin series designed by Raul Barbieri, and Zucchetti began a long-term collaboration with Matteo Thun. Thun’s design for the Isy single lever mixer tap, in collaboration with Antonio Rodriguez, was the first in the world to have a hidden cartridge technology, and won all the most important international awards and prizes.
In 2003 Zucchetti launched the Aguablu series, by Barbara Sordina, whose unique, elegant forms gave the flowing water a particular shape.
In 2004 Thun and Rodriguez presented their aristocratic, exclusive Bellagio range.
In 2005 Ludovica+Roberto Palomba launched two new important tapware collections: Pan, whose gentle, sensual junctions created a perfect match between natural and organic forms, and Soft, an exclusive interplay of reflective surfaces.
“As a design-orientated company we have no interest in fashions or gimmicks” says today’s company president Carlo Zucchetti, “but in expressing a system of ethics and behaviour in each project. Design is the unifying factor that holds together all the elements of our complex activity.”
In 2006 Ludovica+Roberto Palomba, and Matteo Thun with Antonio Rodriguez, designed Simply Beautiful and Fully Round, two innovative collections aimed at a wider market segment.
In 2007 the eclectic Lebanese architect and designer William Sawaya designed Wosh, a perfect synthesis of complex, pure forms that recall the faceted surfaces of a diamond.
It is in 2009 that Zucchetti together for the first time with Kos, which it acquired in 2007, presents Faraway, an entire “world of wellness”: the first comprehensive, all-inclusive bathroom collection for private users, contract installations, and spas, consisting of more than 100 products. The design of Faraway is based on the relationships between rectilinear shapes and rounded corners, and on newly innovative and patented product types that save energy and water. By overturning common preconceptions about the bathroom, Faraway creates a new iconography that gives shape to our dreams, wherever we are in the world.
“Like my father Mario, I am convinced that industrial design does not just come out of the inspiration of one person. It comes from the interactive understanding of a team of people whose skills and knowledge all contribute to the formulation and implementation of the project” says Elena Zucchetti, CEO and brand manager.
And in fact, the design and production processes for each collection have their own internal complexity, as the project progresses from the designer’s first sketches to the industrialisation phase, which Zucchetti’s own internal technical team develops by means of feasibility studies, modelling, working drawings, and workshop testing, so that the product can be taken to industrial production. This production design cycle, which culminates in the industrialisation of the finished product, is entirely carried out within Zucchetti’s own factories, where major resources have always been invested in updating and upgrading the various production departments, constantly ensuring that the equipment and technology is optimising the processes, the quality of manufacture, and the products, as well as the welfare and safety of the operators. This guarantees that the quality is complete in every aspect; it is certified in accordance with UNI EN ISO 9001 standards and the most important international quality marks.
Zucchetti has always been environmentally conscious in its production processes, and in designing products that use specially designed ways of mixing water and air, to restrict flows and give significant savings in water consumption whilst not detracting in any way from the pleasant experience of a full-bodied water jet. By constantly applying such advanced technologies, Zucchetti is always ahead of the trend, and always ready to address the demands of the international market, in ever more innovative ways.
Elena Zucchetti, Zucchetti CEO, adds “We have reached over 80 year in our history of deploying these skills and know-how. We are an active, leading presence in the Italian and international markets today thanks to the strength of these strategies, which keep us always at the leading edge, and because our family has passed down an entrepreneurial outlook that has always been able to anticipate consumer needs, and modify the company structure in flexible ways, keeping it attuned to our strategies as we update them. My grandfather Alfredo, my father Mario with my uncle Luciano, and us today, we have always been company people, closely following every aspect of Zucchetti’ s activity. The core values our father passed on to us, and which we have adopted in our own approach to the business, are to get the best out of our human capital, and to constantly innovate and upgrade our technologies to ensure the constant high quality of our products, our service, and our support. These are solid foundations, and they enable us to address every type of market, crossing different cultural preferences and expectations, and opening up to the world with the same pioneering attitude and enthusiastic spirit with which our company was born in 1929.”
As evidence of Zucchetti’s strong interest in expanding into foreign markets, in 2004 the firm opened a subsidiary in Poland, to develop the eastern European markets; then in 2005 another subsidiary was opened in Shanghai to establish a presence in the Asian markets and in 2010, last but not less importante, a new subsidiary was opened in US, to further strengthen the already strong presence on this market.