Interview with Fulgor

Founded in 1949 by Piero Puricelli and headquartered 20 miles north of Milan, Fulgor is a cooking specialist with 60 years of experience crafting unique and groundbreaking cooking appliances. Under the general management of Piero’s youngest son, Maurizio Puricelli, Fulgor has expanded globally into a dozen countries, with nine sales offices. True to its Italian heritage, Fulgor has always approached the design of our products in a fiercely innovative way. With an incredible attention to detail, Fulgor’s products not only perform beautifully, but become thoughtfully streamlined pieces of art. This unique approach to creating a high-performance kitchen allows Fulgor to satisfy the changing needs of its customers in unique, intuitive ways. The interview was given by Mr. Jason Foster of Fulgor USA, to provide our readers with insights on the company, brand and products.
Why consumers need to strongly consider Fulgor brand when making an appliance purchase?
When considering brands, the first thing consumer should look at is the quality of the appliance they are selecting, and the value it brings. With nearly sixty years of experience hand-crafting premium cooking appliances, Fulgor’s appliances have exacting performance that helps home chefs bring culinary masterwork to their kitchen tables. The second thing consumers should consider is the identity of the brand they’re buying into: who are they and what do they stand for? Fulgor is a strong Italian company with true Italian heritage. When it comes to all things culinary, no one does it better than Italy. Our brand is built on that success, and consumers will see that in every facet of our business, from website and brochures, to packaging and service.
One of the interesting aspects of your brand identity is “the Italian way of life”. Please elaborate.
For all of its faults, Italy is known around the world for its quality of life. Life in Italy moves a little slower than the US, and allows people to enjoy the ordinary things we so often miss here. From mid-day siestas to evening walks after dinner; the Italian way of life is something we can all appreciate and aspire to in our own lives. At Fulgor, we try to reflect the kindness, joy, and appreciation for life and food that is inherent in all Italians.
To get the idea where Fulgor products fit in, tell us what other appliance brands do you compete with?
We compete with other premium brands in the industry. We have a range of product families that fall in different places on the price scale; but our capstone Leonardo Classico line will truly be a unique and differentiated product platform. With ultra-premium features, and jaw-dropping aesthetics, it competes strongly with the best and brightest available.
You have a brand story unlike any other – uniquely hand-crafted Italian appliances. Does any other appliance manufacturer offer hand-crafted appliances?
It’s very difficult for high volume manufacturers to preserve this type of production facility. At Fulgor, we’ve maintained our boutique approach to manufacturing, and have resisted the temptation of “volume selling” our brand. We believe strongly in this hand-crafted approach. It allows us to inspect every appliance that leaves our factory, and tells a strong message about the quality of our craftsmanship. Additionally, Fulgor is still, and will forever be, a family owned company. Although his youngest son is now running the company, our 90 year old founder, Piero Puricelli, still makes his way to the factory every day to build a lasting legacy of passion and commitment to excellence in all Fulgor employees. This commitment is etched into the fabric of Fulgor’s identity, and it’s evidenced in everything we do.
These cute and unique rectangular knobs that are found on many Fulgor appliances, are they part of the branding strategy? No one else that we know of have them.
The knobs you’re referring to are proprietary tooling we have developed to create a seamless family design to different products in the kitchen. Our industrial designers are located just outside of Milan, and the progressive design industry there has a huge impact on the approach we take to designing our appliances. Our branding strategy in the US is a reflection of our company’s unique Italian heritage, and the design of our appliances is definitely a part of that strategy.
What are some of the most innovative/advanced features that can be found on your appliances? Give a few examples, please.
Our products are jam packed with premium features. To list a few, we have a unique dual convection system we call DuoConvectTM in our 500 & 700 series ovens that allows air to circulate more evenly inside the oven cavity to allow for quicker, more even cooking. Those same ovens come with incredible door technology that allows us to beat UL’s surface temperature requirements by nearly 50%. We do this by putting four panes of glass on all oven doors and treating them with a special compound to reflect heat back into the oven. To name a few more, our gas cooktops were developed with a unique dual flame burner that is incorporated on all 36″ gas cooktops. It allows for an incredible BTU range to provide gentle simmering and high-powered searing or boiling all from the same burner. All cooktops have a unique Italian Wing Design, which allows for greater surface area on the cooktop. Our dishwashers are equipped with an industry leading multi-blade hard food grinder and sensor wash system to ensure plates taken straight from the kitchen table to the dishwasher come out looking perfectly polished every time. We could go on all day, but I think that whets the appetite a bit!
For home-cooking enthusiasts, what are some unique convenient features/benefits that can be found on your appliances? Give a few examples.
Our tag line says it all: arte culinariaTM. We believe strongly in creating artistic, masterful meals in the kitchen, and our appliances are built to enable that. I mentioned our DuoConvectTM dual convection technology earlier, but the ovens also offer 11 preset cooking functions, including a proofing function that is perfectly sealed and can be adjusted from 80°F to 120°F. Back in the mid-1990’s, Fulgor was the first European appliance company to export self-cleaning, convection ovens to the USA, and we have carried on that legacy by offering the fastest and most versatile self clean mode in the industry. Our variable self clean mode allows users to establish a self clean cycle time that correlates to their needs. In short, our cooking appliances are built by experts with 60 years of experience and exacting performance in mind.
Tell us about your award winning designs.
As I mentioned earlier our corporate offices are located just outside Milan, and incorporating Euro-Italian design into our appliances is a critical component to our product development cycle. We only recently began entering products for award recognition in North America, and won two ADEX awards, ran by Design Journal Magazine, for design excellence in 2007. One was for our Leonardo Classico oven, and its unique three-dimensional door surface, and the second for the Italian Wing Design on our electric cooktops. We have several products nominated to various design awards right now, and expect a bright future for our brand to this regard.
How Eco-friendly are Fulgor appliances?
As European built appliances, they are very Eco-friendly. Our ovens & cooktops conform to all European energy guidelines, which are traditionally higher than those in the US, such as ROhS which prevents harmful or questionable materials from being used to produce goods. Additionally, our ovens & gas cooktops are made from over 90% recyclable material. All of our dishwashers meet Energy Star requirements, and our tall tub models comply with what Energy Star calls “Tier 2”, meaning a higher degree of energy efficiency. In short, Fulgor believes strongly in the preservation of our natural resources and the craftsmanship of our appliances reflects that.
Where can Fulgor products be purchased in the US?
We are working very hard at expanding our distribution in the US & Canada right now. As a company, we are deeply committed to independent dealers and kitchen & bath specialists who can reflect our company’s message strongly – so the product will only be available from those locations. We only recently launched the new product line, and will be announcing several new additions to our distributor network in the coming weeks which will allow us to effectively cover nearly the entire expanse of both countries. Visit a distributor locator on our website to select by state and pull up their information.
What type of warranties is offered?
One of the bedrocks of our brand is quality & reliability. Since our inception nearly six decades ago, we have stood behind every product we’ve produced, and inspect every unit before it leaves our factory. To prove our commitment we offer the industry’s leading warranty for all major appliances. It offers a two year full parts and labor warranty, with a unique limited warranty in year three that helps defray the cost of service by providing monetary support in the amount of $50 to our customers, if a service call is needed. We call it the “2+1 Warranty”, and you can read the fine print by downloading a full copy of the warranty.
Do you offer a complete-kitchen solution? If not is that in plans?
We are working towards a complete-kitchen solution. Our current product mix has multiple platforms of ovens, gas and electric cooktops, dishwashers and microwaves – all of the staple products except full-size refrigeration. In addition, we will be launching warming drawers and under-counter refrigeration in the first quarter of 2009. We want Fulgor to be the brand culinary aficionado’s can’t live without, and to do that we need to build the brand one category at a time, building loyal and dedicated followers along the way.
What are the product lines specifically designed for the US and Canadian consumers?
As much as possible, we try to develop all of our product lines specifically for North American consumers. To site a few examples, in 1994 we were the first European company of our kind to export European cooking appliances into these markets, and we’ve learned an incredible amount over the last 14 years. To that effect, our new 500 & 700 series oven platform boasts an oversized 4.34 cu. ft of capacity – on par with the largest ovens on the marketplace, save that our rack glides which are embossed into the oven cavity and take up a few tenths of a cubic foot. Additionally, most European dishwashers feature a filtration system that requires users to periodically remove a cup filled with food scraps, or deal with re-depositing old food on their clean dishes. Fulgor’s dishwashers prevent this nuisance by using our industry leading hard food grinder.
Tell us about Fulgor’s signature Leonardo Classico family of products. Why are these appliances special?
Our Leonardo Classico family of products marries our most advanced features with high-style, unique designs. It is named after Leonardo da Vinci, the famed Italian painter, engineer and scientist whose great interests were only equaled by the masterwork of his inventions. Our Leonardo Classico family of products seeks to emulate his life by constantly breaking through the boundaries of thoughtful design & exacting performance in today’s kitchen. It is a special line of appliances that will impress even the most discerning home chefs.
Fulgor means ‘To Shine’ in Latin. How are you planning to shine on the US markets?
Great question. I think it’s a multi-faceted approach, but the key is being authentic to our roots as uniquely Italian cooking specialists. It’s no secret that the US is fascinated by all things Italian, and most notably its cuisine. As the poet Anna Akhmatova writes, “Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life”. We are the only appliance manufacturer in the US who can speak from an authentically Italian voice because siamo Italiano – we are Italian! By never sacrificing quality, earning the respect of our customers every day, and living up to the expectations of a high-performance Italian brand, our Italian message we will break through, and we will shine.
What are ‘Fulgor Illuminations’?
A play on the Latin meaning of ‘Fulgor’ – the Latin word for ‘shining’, Fulgor Illumination is the term we use for the hallmark features of every appliance we make; from cutting-edge performance, safety and environmental features to award-winning design and engineering. In most cases we are one of the few, if not the only manufacturer in the world to have these innovative features or designs. Our engineers are dedicated to pushing the envelope forward, and our Fulgor Illuminations reflect that. They are described in the key features area of the product pages on our website as well as in our catalog and other printed material.