Back in 1995, the Italian architect Renzo Piano branched out into product design with a new hob for Smeg. The Italian appliances manufacturer had always pitched its products to the upper end of the market, and the ‘Piano’ (available in four and five-burner sizes) was no exception.
A free-standing sculptural object that would suit the then-burgeoning trend for kitchen island units, the Piano hob became a cult object for the kitchen, akin to Philippe Starck’s famous ‘Juicy Salif’ lemon squeezer.
Unlike that spindly aluminium sideboard ornament, the Smeg technology ensured the ‘Piano’ cooked as good as it looked.
The company is launching a limited-edition of 1,000 Piano hobs as a way of celebrating its archive of delectable domestic designs (as well as a marking decade since Piano’s most visible UK structure, the Shard, was completed).
Piano was one of the great pioneers of transferring technology from industry to the arts, creating buildings that transformed the raw components of factory structure into elegant contemporary statements.
The ‘Piano’ hob is made entirely of polished stainless steel. A special plasma-coating process is applied to the surface to stop it from tarnishing.
As one would expect from an object shaped by an architect, no detail is left unturned - the burner pan stand is created without any welds, for example. Renzo Piano is still working at the age of 84, with recent works including the new San Giorgio Bridge in his home town of Genoa, built in just 420 days to replace the motorway structure that collapsed in 2018, and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.
Smeg x Renzo Piano ‘Piano’ hob, from £549, available from Smeg, 14 Regent Street, London or online at www.shop.smeguk.com
This article is part of The T3 Edit, a collaboration between T3 and Wallpaper* which explores the very best blends of design, craft, and technology. Wallpaper* magazine is the world’s leading authority on contemporary design and The T3 Edit is your essential guide to what’s new and what’s next.