Italkraft features Italian tech and design
by Michaelle Bradford
published in Closets & Organized Storage November-December 2021 issue
Miami-based Italkraft brings Italian manufacturing to North America with its custom designed kitchens, bathrooms, and closets. Founded in 2011 by Raul Gutierrez and Alex Xakoustis, the company blends the best of Italian engineering with design for single family, condos and multifamily units.
“We started mainly selling our retail clients from the showroom, our main showroom in Doral (Florida), and then we started getting more involved in multifamily...in condo projects and multi- unit projects,” Gutierrez said. “I think we grew very fast based on our performance, first in South Florida, then a couple years after we expanded into New York, Washington, D.C. and then Texas – now we’re working pretty much throughout the country. We went from just selling a few million dollars in the first year to today, over a $100 million in sales.”
Its high-end designs are featured in some of the most luxurious single family homes in South Florida, as well as in luxury hospitality and multifamily residential developments in South Florida, New York City, Atlanta, Texas, California and Mexico, including Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences, Aston Martin Residences, One Thousand Museum, Missoni Baia, Baccarat Residences Miami, Reach & Rise at Brickell City Centre, Auberge Beach, Icon Las Olas, and Mr. C Residences Coconut Grove.
Italkraft also has showrooms throughout South Florida including Aventura, Fort Lauderdale and Wynwood, as well as across the world, including New York, Washington, D.C., Austin, Los Angeles, Panama and Italy.
The company’s manufacturing hub is located on the east coast of Italy near the town of Acona. The facility has a large capacity with about 60 employees and can produce approximately 25,000 units a year for Italkraft. Gutierrez described a unit as one apartment or home.
The plant in Italy is essentially a central hub where all the components come together, get packaged and shipped to the U.S. “We feel that in Italy you have the best raw material products. All of the veneers, the lacquer, the craftsmanship, the machinery, everything is more precise, more high-end,” he said. “This industry in Italy, it’s just far above, let’s say any other country, the level of the craftsmanship, the details, engineering and so forth. And it’s still the case today.”
The plant itself is very high-tech and completely automated with robots that can produce 500 kitchens in two days. According to Gutierrez, the facility has large saws with automated systems for loading, unloading and pulling the material into the next station. The company also uses a laser edgebander and PUR glue edgebander, as well as CNC machines with automatic drilling and routing capabilities, plus automatic placement of dowels where necessary.
When it comes to lacquer and finishing, Gutierrez said they outsource for those services to specialists that can provide the level of detail needed.
U.S. plant adds capacity, flexibility
Italkraft’s capacity will increase when the company opens its U.S. manufacturing facility in December. The U.S. plant will produce approximately 10 percent of Italkraft’s projects.
The decision to build this plant was based on a number of factors, Gutierrez explained; as a precaution, given the disruptions in the supply chain over the last 18-plus months, plus it allows the company to provide builders faster lead times. “That gives us a lot of flexibility, and we use all the same or very similar machinery that we have in Europe. Obviously, it doesn’t have as much capacity as we have in Italy, but it’s going to be able to produce about 800 cabinets per day on one shift.”
Reaction time will also be swift. “Let’s say we’re doing a building in Los Angeles, 900 apartments, and there’s a leak or water damage or anything. We have the capacity in this facility to immediately react and provide that service for the client,” Gutierrez explained. “We can produce within two to three weeks and have it delivered directly to the site. So, our clients love the fact that we have that capability and that flexibility.”
Italkraft also has found other ways to deal with supply chain disruptions, mainly by working with clients and suppliers and dedicating approximately 225 guaranteed shipping containers per month.
“We don’t have a problem with capacity, of getting slots. The biggest issue we’ve had is congestion at the port, which has delayed us one, maximum two weeks, in our case. Then we have the issue of the freight cost. We used to pay $3,500 per container, now we’re paying $10,000.
“We’re very transparent with our clients. So, if you have a project that’s 14-, 40-foot containers and we have an extra cost of $5,000 per container, that’s what we disclose to them, exactly what the situation is, especially for the new contracts going forward.” On existing/older contracts, he added, “The developer has been very reasonable for the most part and understanding of the situation. I mean, it’s like any project, you can have an impact of $20 to a $100,000 depending on the project. If you multiply that by, we do about 100 projects a year, you’re talking of a huge amount of loss.”
Despite supply chain challenges, Gutierrez said he believes 2022 will be a good year for Italkraft, especially with the U.S. manufacturing facility providing added capacity and flexibility. Many building projects are just starting construction, which will provide a tremendous amount of work. “There’s not a slowdown at all.”
To learn more about Italkraft, visit italkraft.com.