NEW YORK, NY —
When Nir Shuminer, owner and president of Italus, decided to renovate and re-open his showroom, he opened up a world of possibilities.
Shuminer, owner and president of Italus, based here, explains: “We were selling American kitchens here before, [but] we were looking to introduce lines from Italy that offer an opportunity [to see a wider range of product offerings].”
He continues: “By importing finer Italian kitchen and bathroom products, Italus showcases the most advanced technology and innovative designs available.”
To commemorate the showroom’s grand opening, which was held this past May, the firm captured its new Italian flavor with a celebration that included Italian sandwiches, gelato and cappuccino.
In fact, some might even say that Shuminer and his five-person staff of designers and craftsmen have become “ambassadors of international design,” he points out.
It is for that reason that Shuminer – along with showroom designer Eric Polak – updated the showroom with a sleeker look that was more consistent with the European aesthetics that they are selling.
Polak explains: “There are unique items in each kitchen. Each is modern and looks different. [More importantly], you cannot find these items in the United States, and that’s what we are trying to show each customer. It’s a different concept.”
Shuminer adds: “We [wanted] to get into more segments of the market by showing a very sleek Italian look.”
The Italus premiere product line is Rossana, a high-end Italian cabinet line that often showcases the talents of Italy’s most celebrated product designers, including Rodolfo Dordoni, a designer of Dolce & Gabbana stores around the world.
This approach certainly appears to be working, as evidenced by the fact that well-known kitchen designer Florence Perchuk was so taken by the company’s showroom offerings that she chose a Rossana kitchen for the Electrolux booth at the most recent K/BIS in Chicago.
Other notable offerings from Italus include cabinet line Febal (a mid-priced brand of the Febal Group, owner of Rossana), a contractors’ line called Prodomo Cucine and granite countertops created by an in-house fabricator.
A SMALL WORLD
At the 3,600-sq.-ft. Italus showroom, it certainly is a small world – especially when it comes to product offerings.
The showroom – which targets designers, architects, consumers and builders – features a range of eye-catching product lines, including the Etna model from Rossana, which was designed by Rodolfo Dordoni. The Etna model features a screen-printed image of glassware on the beveled glass doors, and is available in either positive or negative print.
“We also represent two bathroom vanity companies from Italy – Novello and Mobili di Castello,” Shuminer adds. “One is traditional and the other is modern.”
He adds: “We’re coming into the U.S. establishing dealerships around the country [and acting as] the importers of these lines.”
Although the firm’s focus is not on appliances, it does offer some appliance lines supplied by Goldman Associates.
Other available lines in the showroom include cabinets from Crystal Cabinet Works and Fieldstone, says Shuminer, who adds that Italus is seeking new dealers throughout the United States. Capannoli bathroom accessories and complements are also featured in the showroom.
Another key part of the Italus showroom experience is its sleek setting, including eclectic artwork hanging on the walls.
“We now have 10 kitchens, and most of them are from our Italian line,” he says, “and yet another one is a traditional custom American line that is hand-made in Oklahoma.”
While there are currently no working displays in the showroom, the pair note that steps are being taken to make a working kitchen out of one of the kitchen vignettes.
In addition to its range of product offerings, the Italus showroom enables the five-person staff to offer a full line of design services.
As the company describes: “Italus not only offers a range of products from designs, custom-made cabinets through to faucets, fittings and installations, but will manage your project from inception to completion.”
Among the services offered at Italus include consultation (a discussion of the plans for a new kitchen or bath); scope of work (the staff designs, plans, prices and recommends materials); purchasing and renovation (Italus orders materials and begins work) and completion (the project is finalized).
Shuminer points out that other specific services offered at the showroom include lighting design with lighting from Dumas, cabinet installation and construction.
The Italus showroom also offers some surprising benefits – especially for those on the move. “We’re a full-service company,” Shuminer says, adding that he also runs a moving company called “Moving People,” which provides full services to people who are relocating.
“The kitchen and bath showroom is part of that [process],” Shuminer describes. “We try to offer a full solution for customers when they relocate.”