The first Italian Style Expo held in Houston this year by the Italian-American Chamber of Commerce presented a little taste of Italy for those of us landlocked on this side of the Atlantic at the moment. Food, wine, spirits, Vespas, Ducati, Fiats, jewelry, ceramics, even Berettas surrounded the visitors milling around the George R. Brown convention center on a warm September weekend. A Vegas-style crooner singing Sinatra songs got the crowd tapping toes, even if inadvertently, and reminded us of the roots of certain Rat Pack members.
As Mauro Galli said, “Italy is a mosaic” of a country, with little disparate pieces fitting together to create a big picture that, in the end, works together. I think that Italy is also a chameleon or Rubik’s cube, showing different sides of itself when the winds of style blow and the tides change. Consider style in the home. At the turn of this century, Old World Style permeated mini-mansions in the suburbs, and “Tuscan” was a cliche. Now, we’re more austere, looking for cooler, sleeker, lighter surroundings.
And who’s been here, waiting all along? The sleek contemporary lines that are often associated with Milan that seemed outdated a few years ago now reach out to us, inviting us to a hipper life. My favorite of the show? Pictured above, it’s the “cucina Sheer”, that includes two components. One is the closeable orb, which opens to reveal a sink, countertop, workspace, stove, raclette-style cooking surface, table for two, and three refrigerated receptacles to cool water and wine. A stainless steel wall cabinet holds dishes, but includes clever pull-out cupboard shelves, a refrigerator, oven, microwave, and dishwasher along the bottom and on the sides. Perfect for that little one-bedroom efficiency that is waiting for us to rent somewhere in Italy! Pictured above is Marco Canuti, Senior Export Manager, and the kitchen is available in Houston at www.nv4living.com.