Philipiak Milano: A Factory About Family & Craftsmanship

The factory was loud, so loud that I was surprised they hadn't give us earplugs when we walked inside. If you didn't know the machines were pressing Philipiak Milano's famous steel cookware together with weights of around two thousand tons, you would've thought it was a weapons factory.

Fulvio Garavaglia, the CEO of Philipiak, told me that his father, Batista, owned a metal store in downtown Milan, Italy, in the 30s. Later, he invested in machinery and factories after World War II and founded the official Philipiak factory for making custom cookware in 1967, just outside of Milan. Philipiak turns out about 1 million pieces of cookware a year and just started selling to the U.S. market online. An 18-piece set of pots and two pans cost about $3,300.

Garavaglia told me what makes Philipiak stand out is the fact that customers can cook their meals without any added salt, water, or fats. The brand takes on healthy living from step one: preparing food.

"Nowadays people tend to have less and less time and eat a lot of fast food, which is not healthy when eat(en) too often," Garavaglia told me. "This is why we would like to help them out in preparing meals by making the healthy cooking process easy and quick. Clients need solutions which support them in everyday life and this is what we do."[pullquote:left]

Garavaglia said his father's approach to the cookware was simple. The factory only uses about five different steps to create its cookware. He said the best lesson he learned from him was that "the best solutions are timeless." For Philipiak, the nutritional needs of Europeans — whose social circles often revolve around good food — drive the creation of the cookware, rather than vice versa.

"Fashions don't last, but human health and a good taste are the eternal values," Garavaglia said. "My father taught me to listen to our customers and constantly talk to them. By maintaining an impeccable quality we want to assure them that Philipiak Milano cookware will always meet their expectations."

The factory smelled like burning steel and well-oiled machinery, and the employees — between the deafening clangs of the metal — would chat in Italian as they passed different pieces of unfinished cookware through the assembly line that composed Philipiak's patented pressure-focused process. Every step was essential, and it was obvious that no one was in a rush to turn out as many pieces as possible. Garavaglia said both the factory and the company, generally, enjoy operating on this smaller, community-oriented scale.

The Philipiak factory represented the patience and care with which Italians treat their food. Connecting with food is often synonymous with connecting to people, and Philipiak operates on that maxim.

"My father has always treated the factory as a home from home. He appreciated the masterpiece of traditional craft and kept thinking about his staff as a community," Garavaglia said. "Being Italian, a healthy, balanced lifestyle and the culture of celebrating with family and friends were essential values for him. There is also one intangible thing — an atmosphere of friendship and respect."