Design for Urban Living

Cucina


Posted on December 11th, by David Bjorngaard in Elements, Knowledge, The Moment. No Comments

This is the time of year when we entertaining friends and family at home to share the joy of the season. We are celebrating another year together, friendship, accomplishments and losses, and tradition. Friends at almost every party gather in the kitchen. Often that is where the host is making last-minute preparations, and we all want to be a part of it. The kitchen really is the center of our homes. As an Italian grandmother would say, the way to their hearts is through their stomach. Food, cooking, entertaining…these are the things  that bring us together.

The idea of kitchen, and how it looks and functions, keeps changing to meet the needs and moods of our lives. In Milan, the major kitchen showrooms are leading the way interpreting how people live now. This year I am thankful for my trip to Milan, which seems like a distant memory, but really was only a couple of months ago. It was so inspiring, and I was able to reinforce my modernist understanding of our design industry. Although it was over 100 degrees everyday, and my feet hurt (cankles was an added vocabulary term this year), I visited a lot of kitchen showrooms. It was worth the pain, especially for someone fond of materials, texture and a warm modernism. Details are precise, function is primary, and maximizing storage and light are key.

Here are several trends which I believe are applicable to our life in California, and will transform how we design kitchens.

Open storage is IN! Or should I say out in the open. Whether it is to store plates and food stuffs, or to display collectibles, open shelving seems to be the unifying theme amongst the kitchens that I saw. The goal is to own less things, but to have nicer things that can be openly stored for easy access and admiration. {check out the open storage kitchen I designed for a client…click here}

These open shelves are sleek and practical, and works as an open pantry...

These open shelves by Boffi are sleek and practical, and works as an open pantry…

These cabinets provide open storage, while providing a graphic, minimal display from a common space. Clutter is both hidden and out in the open.

…while providing a graphic, minimal display from a common space. Clutter is both hidden and out in the open. Smart and practical.

Open storage can act as a room divider. Notice the integrated lighting.

Open storage can act as a room divider. Notice the integrated lighting.

Boffi kitchen

WK6 kitchen by Piero Lissoni is clean and open, and many of us would be overwhelmed by such a large kitchen!

WK6 kitchen by Piero Lissoni is clean and open, and many of us would be overwhelmed by such a large kitchen!

FLEXIBLE storage for small spaces/open plan living. The key problem with open storage is that stuff is left out in the open; not all of our things are pretty to look at. Sometimes it is better to hide things away, especially when we have too much stuff, or not enough pretty things. This is especially true in our open plan housing, and downtown apartments, where a bunch of random cooking supplies on shelves can look cluttered. Freestanding storage allows for a pantry in full view in the living room, or a kitchen cabinet to live comfortable in the main room of a pied-à-terre…preferably in Paris.

This modern cabinet on wheels opens to reveal storage which optimizes space for dishes and food stuffs. I like the mix of modern and antique, light and dark.

This modern cabinet on wheels opens to reveal storage which optimizes space for dishes and food stuffs. I like the mix of modern and antique, light and dark.

An entire kitchen can be hid with Hide kitchen by Piero Lissoni

An entire kitchen can be hid with Hide kitchen by Piero Lissoni

Backsplashes are trending towards both more and less TACTILE. There was little in-between. Decorative tile backsplashes, a form of self expression in the kitchen, are loosing ground to solid slabs and rustic tile. True, these were kitchen showrooms, where the emphasis was on function and form of the cabinets in space (a tile showroom would have yielded a different impression), but the take away is for tactile experiences. Continuing the countertop up to the backsplash creates a sleek, modern and extremely cleanable surface. On the opposite end, using matte, hand-glazed tile give a nod to all the traditional farm-house cucinas in Italy and France: not fussy, but functional, and full of imperfections that add the beauty and warmth of the human touch.

Countertops and dining areas are CANTILEVERED. This can be done with steel, glass and metal. Not only does this make a countertop appear less bulky by breaking up a larger surfaces and forms, but it also allows for maximum light to flow through a room.  Connecting with light and the elements  is a key to California living, and for humanizing our fast paced, tech-centeric, high-rise lives.

A glass pedestal allows this island to shower in space. The edge detail on the countertop accentuates the floating appearance.

A glass pedestal allows this island to float in space. The countertop edge detail accentuates the floating appearance.

Countertops are layered, allowing this stainless steel surface to pivot and adjust to multiple configurations.

Countertops are layered. Here a stainless steel surface pivots, adjusting to multiple configurations.

The K2 Kitchen expands when cooking and dining, as the surface conceals a cooktop.

The K2 Kitchen expands to reveal a cook-top and provide preparation and dining space.

K2 kitchen detail by Norbert Wangen for Boffi

Material options are expanding for CABINETS. What this means is that the look and feel of our kitchens will change. Recycled wood, used in a clean and architectural way, will be a common kitchen material. So too will our use of ultra-light weight ceramics: thin enough to  be used to face cabinet doors and drawers; durable enough to be used as countertops and backsplashes; cleanable; and convincing enough to look like natural materials.

Recycled wood combines with painted cabinets...sleek and textural. Stainless steel countertops and slab backsplash complete the modern touches to the kitchen.

Recycled wood combines with painted cabinets…sleek and textural. Stainless steel countertops and slab backsplash complete this contemporary kitchen.

These cabinets are clad in ultra-thin material designed to look like stone. Unbelievably light, extremely durable, and easy to open.

These cabinets are clad in ultra-thin material designed to look like stone. Unbelievably light, extremely durable, and easy to open.

Xila kitchen by Luigi Massoni for Boffi

Boffin kitchen

Boffin kitchens

David Bjørngaard, December 2015





What do you think?