The setting is that of one of the most famous Milanese theatres: the Manzoni theatre. And it is no coincidence because the theme is creating culture, the culture of the Appliance industry expressed in its various facets. The “Cultura Appliances” event, organized to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Ha Factory magazine, represented a unique moment of reflection, debate and analysis. It was an event that brought together all the “voices” of the sector, at 360 degrees: producers, subcontractors, associations. After the introduction of Alessandro Garnero (Editorial Director Manufacturing Division, Tecniche Nuove Editorial Group) and Andrea Carinato Cavalieri Ducati (Area Manager Appliances Division, Tecniche Nuove Editorial Group), the Economic Session began which saw the speech of Benedetta Brioschi, Associate Partner, Head of Food&Retail and Sustainability, The European House Ambrosetti. The speaker underlined the importance of focusing the attention on buildings for the ecological transition and mentioned the Community Smart Building, an initiative promoted by TEHA on the topic. According to what Brioschi reported, the extended Smart Building supply chain in Italy involves 35 sectors and over 180 sub-sectors: it is a growth driver and the household appliance sector can have strategic relevance. Furthermore, Brioschi highlighted the advantages that the Smart Building can bring in terms of safety & security, comfort and well-being.
Subsequently, in a round table moderated by Alessandro Garnero, the main associations in the sector discussed each other. Paolo Falcioni (Director General APPLiA Home Appliances Europe), Davide Castagna (Senior Key Account Manager APPLiA Italia), Davide Rossi (Director General Aires Confcommercio) and Stefano Bellò (Vice President Anima/Assoclima) underlined how household appliances have really changed the lives of people compared to the past and they have affirmed the central role of the supply chain. Furthermore, the importance of educating consumers for greater knowledge and awareness on sustainability issues was highlighted.
The economic session ended with a talk by Prof. Carlo Alberto Carnevale Maffè, who proposed the theme “Appliances as utility? What evolutionary scenario”. Quoting Le Corbusier, the Professor said that “the house is a machine for living in” and it is a machine that pollutes today. For this reason it is necessary to change the way of conceiving the house, going beyond the concept of possession. In this transformation, the appliances also play an important role and evolve as service platforms.
Supply chain, sustainability and design in the Product Session
The Product Session opened with a round table dedicated to the household appliances and their supply chain. Marco Villani, Prof. at the University of L’Aquila and Technical Director of Ha Factory, moderated the speeches of Francesco Amitrano (CEO Pasell), Marco Arduini (CEO Eurogroup), Giorgio Decataldo (Global Business Development UL Solutions), Luigi Malpighi (EMEA Strategic Marketing Italy & Spain IoT Biz Development STMicroeletronics), Stefano Rocchi (Group Sales Director REPA Italia) and Roberto Sonni (Plant Manager Ilva Glass). From the debate it emerged that component companies are very active in terms of research and technological innovation and they have often started collaborations with universities. From electric motors to electronics, from materials such as glass ceramic for induction cooking to counterweights for washing machines and plastic/rubber components, up to the management of spare parts: the outlined scenario is a group of very innovative companies, able to operate on the international markets. All this also with the support of third-party bodies such as UL Solutions to guarantee safety and compliance in order to access foreign markets.
A subsequent round table, moderated by Prof. Venanzio Arquilla (Head of Product Design Course at Politecnico di Milano Design School), presented the household appliance industry in relation to the different environments in which the product is applied. Daniele Grassi (Vice President Home Appliances Division, Samsung Electronics Italia), Ettore Jovane (Head of Aircon Business, Samsung Electronics Italia), Ernesto Santini (Vice President Smart Building Alliance) and Maurizio Tursini (Chief Product Marketing and Solutions, Cimbali Group) discussed this topic. In both domestic and professional channels, a strong innovation process has taken place in recent years, which has improved the user experience. However, the user’s behavior is fundamental for the product to be used in the best possible way, considering that, in terms of sustainability, the greatest impact is during the use of the devices. As regards the smart buildings, the importance of acting on politicians and decision makers to encourage actions that make the transformation of buildings possible was highlighted.
The issue of sustainability was also discussed in the talk by journalist Ferruccio De Bortoli who underlined how the transition is necessary and how companies are ahead of society. However, it is not possible to carry out this transition without the consensus of public opinion and without taking into account the support to those segments of the population that will be most affected in terms of cost increases that are not avoidable.
Some players in the sector then expressed their opinion on the topic, such as Alberto Di Luzio (General Manager Midea Italia), Serhan Karakoc (Technical Lead Expert – EMEA Appliance Market 3M) and Eleonora Morettini (Head of CS Italy & Iberia Whirlpool Corporation). Together with them again Daniele Grassi and Ettore Jovane from Samsung. The round table on sustainability was moderated by Federica Lavoro, Communication Manager APPLiA Home Appliances Europe. During the debate, it was said how important it is to consider sustainability (in all its aspects) right from the design phase. Furthermore, products, services and technologies are now available that allow consumption to be reduced and monitored without sacrificing functionality, comfort and a better user experience. However, the speakers highlighted that sustainability is a lifestyle, before a product, therefore the appliance manufacturers have the responsibility to “literate” consumers in order to encourage sustainable behavior.
The following speech had as protagonist Francesco Farinetti who, after an excursus on the stages that marked the evolution of Unieuro and Eataly, told about GreenPea, the first Green Retail Park focused on sustainability understood as “respect” to save the planet. It is a project in which sustainability is not a duty but a way of building beauty, which GreenPea carries out together with its partners.
The “Cultura Appliances” event concluded with a final round table moderated by Cristina Lazzati, Editor-in-chief MarkUp and Gdoweek, Tecniche Nuove Editorial Group. Marco Bonetto (President Bonetto Design), Francesco Casoli (President Elica), Giordano Covini (President Sinthesi Engineering), Luciano Galimberti (President ADI Association for Industrial Design) and Maurizio Vianello (CEO Valcucine) discussed the role of design in the household appliances sector. It was underlined that design is transversal, as it speaks to “worlds” that are distant from each other. And it has a strategic role in visioning a sustainable future. It makes the consumer choose the product with the “stomach”, but it is not just the “skin” of the product, it is “the product” itself, conceived in all its aspects. Design is still a great strength point for the Italian companies, even if the speakers highlighted the difficulty of players in teaming up to be more competitive.