Closets & Organized Storage magazine spoke with Diana Viera, managing partner, Italkraft, to learn about the latest design trends, the impact of the pandemic on Italkraft and much more.
Could you tell me about your company and its background?
Italkraft is the Miami-based design powerhouse that has been making waves in the design world as the only Italian design company that allows its clients to fully customize their designs. The company has experienced unparalleled success since its inception in 2011 and this past year, celebrated the grand opening of its Wynwood showroom. In addition to the new Wynwood showroom, the firm also operates three other showrooms in Florida and 10 locations worldwide.
Italkraft works with their clients step-by-step, taking them through the consultation, design, fabrication and installation processes to ultimately deliver premier results by fusing Old-World artisan craftsmanship with sleek, contemporary design. The Italkraft difference begins in the hills above the Adriatic coast of central Italy, where a state-of-the-art manufacturing brings traditional Italian craftsmanship together with the finest materials and most advanced fabrication techniques.
Diana Viera, managing partner, Italkraft, says she’s seeing a demand for darker wood “especially in large master closets, the room is open and spacious, and the darker wood and the different varieties make the room feel richer and more sophisticated.”
How long have you had showrooms in the U.S.?
Our first showroom was our Doral (Florida) location since the company’s founding in 2011.
How would you describe the design style of your products, modern?
For the most part, Italkraft products and style are very modern. The majority of our cabinetry and millwork is a clean, contemporary look with seamless integration. However, we also work with very traditional designs if our clients request that. We don’t typically do a lot of the very traditional, but sometimes the look that people want to achieve is different. Since we pride ourselves on being completely customizable, we will go to great lengths to execute whatever our clients desire.
What impacts are you seeing from COVID-19 and how has it changed your sales, design and manufacturing process?
Over the past few months during the pandemic, Italkraft has seen increased interest in upgrades and renovations. People are feeling inspired. In the beginning of the pandemic, people were hesitant to move forward since no one was positive as to where the economy was going, and what would ultimately happen. But after a few weeks and the realization of a “new normal,” people were inevitably spending more time in their homes and more time thinking through revisions.
Throughout the pandemic, we really did not see much of a pause in our work. We had clients wanting to visit the showroom and set up virtual appointments to discuss designs for upgrades and revisions to their spaces. People were and are still eager to get moving again and renew what they already have.
From a manufacturing standpoint, our processes and procedures out of our Italian facilities were shut down for a bit. We were still putting orders in, but anything in production was paused and no new work had kicked off. Luckily, we also work with other manufacturers, in Portugal and Germany for example, and we already had a local manufacturer and resources here. We were able to pivot to make sure our local millworker could produce and replace while Italy was on hold. Since May, everything is now in full throttle again and everything that was once on hold is back in production with no delays. We are very excited to continue business as usual.
When it comes to design trends, you say you’re seeing a lot of darker wood as well as a desire for glass doors, what is behind that demand?
This is definitely the case for closets. We are seeing a lot of darker wood closets, and the desire for glass doors. Especially in large master closets, the room is open and spacious, and the darker wood and the different varieties make the room feel richer and more sophisticated.
These glass closet doors often protect and display the most prized possessions, including handbags and shoes. Oftentimes the glass is not clear, but specialty tinted, and illuminated from within so that it looks very beautiful. Within luxury closets, we also see integrated lights throughout that showcase the space more, as well as leather sections throughout; whether that’s entire sections of leather or leather drawers. It creates more of an experience in a space, and a focal point of entertainment.
What other design trends are you seeing in closet and home organization design? What type of accessories are clients requesting?
For home organization, our clients are always requesting different accessories, like custom dividers. We work with a lot of different pull-outs and pull-out valets which makes getting dressed in your own closet a completely high end experience. These types of accessories allow you to hang the clothes in outfit form, letting you compare and build your outfits right in front of you.
For hardware, bathrooms were once desired to be very minimalistic and modern, but now we are seeing people getting a bit more decorative in their hardware choices. They want to see different metals, like bronze and rose gold, which are our most popular requests. The overall design is still seamless, but people are no longer eliminating the look of hardware. We’ve worked with hardware pieces that are incredibly intricate, with little rivets and more of a 3D texture.
And for closets, we are seeing leather as a luxurious trend – small touches here and there that add an extra pizzazz, like leather drawers.
What is the most challenging or extravagant closet design you’ve worked on?
The most extravagant closet I’ve worked on is the $1M closet. It is exquisite – all custom wood veneer to match with the paneling, matching metal details, pocket doors – everything was custom made. The space was a master suite and we created different spaces within the open floor plan – shoe storage, sitting area, master His and Hers sinks, master bathroom, kitchenettes, etc. We even customized the hampers for the closet with waterproof leather.
Can you discuss your philosophy for designing integrated lighting throughout a closet system – what are the pros and cons?
There are different ways for integrated lighting, and it all depends on the client’s budget and the look they are going for. There’s typically always ceiling lighting, but lighting can be an aesthetic feature – whether it’s angled to showcase the clothes, or even lighting on each shelf which produces more of a wow factor.
What other trends are you seeing in lighting especially in relation to smart home technology, RFID, etc.?
For the most part, we are seeing connected lighting, like Lutron or Control4, making everything cohesive in the smart home. We connect our lights to that programmed smart system. It makes the home feel very sophisticated and futuristic.