TUBES: The Circle. A Family Story

November 2017

Established in 1992, Tubes has a one-of-a-kind history in the radiator and heated-towel rail industry. Award-winning and with its work in major design museums, it owes this place to a trio of emphasis: aesthetics, technology and function. And since its market debut, the results have been distinguished by innovative identities, spatial sensitivity, and a dynamic approach to product design. But there is another resource that underpins everything the company does, and that is people.

Tubes’ headquarters are situated in Resana, in the Italian province of Treviso. Totalling some 18,000 sq m, it is here - in a newly expanded unit - that all production takes place in-house. Although it has invested heavily in manufacturing automation and software applications, this is very much a human company. Especially when it comes to the craft of finishing, it relies, values and cherishes the skills of those day-to-day interventions. Today, the company operates with a workforce of 65 employees and a distribution network that goes throughout Italy and the main markets of Europe.

Made in Italy is one of the key values of Tubes’ corporate philosophy. This is also translated into its commitment to innovate, experiment with shapes and technology, fine craftsmanship and use of exceptional materials. By introducing radiators that look more like architectural elements than system components, Tubes has revolutionised the conventional concept of heaters. By making them play a leading role in interior design, satisfying heating requirements becomes just one function, essential but no longer restrictive.

Quality is crucial to Tubes, and it has collaborated with several internationally renowned architects and designers in the development of its collections. However, the company is aware that radiators need to work on many different levels: aesthetic elegance has to be matched by a piece’s performance, safety and ability to last. Every step of the manufacturing process is defined by superior quality standards. The staff, whose expertise and painstaking care for details, makes for experience that simply cannot be replaced by automated systems. Certain skills need time and Tubes recognises this, and in doing so, its products rank among the highest levels of excellence.

Customisation is also a big part of the Tubes’ way. With a diverse collection full of possibilities, each of Tubes’ ranges has a number of product families, models and lines. It also has over 260 colours to choose from, along with six handcrafted plate finishes and four brushed anodised finishes. In many cases, customers may even order their radiator model in personalised shapes.

Tubes recently celebrated its 25-year history and with people at its heart, it’s fitting that photographer and artist Gianluca Vassallo used the metaphor of the circle to tell this family story. It transmits the similarities in the way the family members relate to one another and the product they imagined: a radiator that makes the circularity of water its focus as it operates.

Vassallo's poetic manner transforms the circle metaphor into powerful content, capturing the way passion and know-how informs daily practice at Tubes.  ‘When I enter a production centre,’ as the artist describes his work, ‘I search for the hidden mechanisms in order to understand the relationship between the owners and the workers, and the quality of these relations. For me, when there are production dimensions that have instinctive cultural integrity, it’s always right to convey this, because it’s smart to place beauty with beauty.’

Over the past years, Vassallo has embraced the role of videomaker for corporate communications, to give unique a meaning and tell company stories from a highly individual perspective.

The Circle. A Family Story made for Tubes Radiatori by Gianluca Vassallo.