We speak to several kitchen manufacturers to find out what’s on-trend for the Middle East next year. Report by Jenny Eagle
Kitchens are gradually taking a more architectural look with an emphasis on horizontal lines and moving away from the traditional base unit/wall unit, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association.
This is evident in Cassandra Cucine, a company that designs and builds hand-made kitchen furniture. It recently developed and produced what it claims to be ‘the world’s’ first curved kitchen.
“The new era in kitchen design is architectural-oriented. Cassandra’s Cucine goal is to spread a vision for a radical differentiation in the industry. Why should people take as a fact that the kitchen is made of square boxes.
Many of us would like to experiment and adopt a different way of storing and processing. We want to sell architectural masterpieces rather than kitchens and make people’s lives more interesting and creative,” said George Pitarokilis, founder/CEO, Cassandra Cucine
Predominant colours are light brown, soft grey, coffee and white as seen by Miele, which unveiled its line of Ice, Jet Black and Brilliant White collection.
“The characteristic trait of the ‘Ice’ series is its cool appeal. With a material mix comprising aluminum, silver rear-printed glass and chrome, Miele appliances accentuate the cool, puristic design of the kitchen,” said Gaby Koudsi, managing director, Miele GCC.
“Appliances in the Brilliant White collection are striking in their fully brilliant white exteriors, with a sleek white gloss finish, white opaque glass oven door, and bright chrome handles and frames completing the fresh vibrant look.”
According to Toni El-Kadi, area manager, Duravit, UAE, Qatar and Oman, the trend for 2013 is to see modern open kitchens similar to a living area.
“Kitchens are a place for preparing food, cooking, doing the dishes and spending time with family and friends. Therefore, the transition from the kitchen to the living area is fluent,” he said. “The configuration and the design is supposed to orient towards a home-like ambiance.
The perfect proportions, the sophisticated details and the harmony of calm lines form ideally the overall picture, which is light and welcoming. Moreover, the kitchen should reflect the personal style no less than any other room in the house does.”
Koudsi agreed and added, appliances are becoming more integrated into the kitchen and the furniture.
Miele has released a number of products including the slimline hood extractor that comes out when pulled forward from behind the wall unit; FlexTouch induction hobs so that pots and pans can be placed anywhere on the ceramic screen and the ProfiLine dishwasher.
“The slimline cooker hoods are exclusive to Miele and disappear behind kitchen cabinetry, which highlights both functionality and aesthetics. High-end models have a slim, delicate canopy, which is pulled down and clear of the wall unit when needed,” he said.
Similarly, Dornbracht, manufacturer of fittings and accessories for the bathroom and kitchen, has introduced its Water Zones programme to the Middle East, a concept for enjoying the kitchen as a living area.
It has divided the home kitchen into separate areas according to their usage ie preparing, cooking, cleaning, drinking and universal.
According to an industry study by Homesolute.com, when washing or rinsing fruits and vegetables, kitchen users prefer to use a flexible spray mixer with a control handle, similar to those found in a professional kitchen because of their ability to control and adjust the strength of the stream of water, depending on what they are rinsing.
The Preparing Water Zone has a spray mixer with an adjustable stream. It also features a double basin sink unit that is deep and has a large capacity on one side and a flat, shallow basin on the other. With the addition of a separate cutting board over the flat basin side, preparation can take place at the sink.
The wall mounted Pot Filler for the Cooking Zone has a cold water-only valve and two flexible swivel joints. With flush-mount brackets, it can be positioned directly next to the stove and is height adjustable to accommodate large pots and containers.
“In a typical residential kitchen, second only to the stove, most people spend their time standing at or working next to the kitchen sink. With the popularity of the modern dishwasher, this work area, unlike the rest of the kitchen, has changed very little over the years,” said Andreas Dornbracht, CEO, Dornbracht. “The style of the fittings is the primary avenue of personalising this area of the room. However, despite our unwavering love for dishwashers, studies show more than half of all work in the kitchen; cleaning, washing and preparing food, takes place at the sink.”
El-Kadi agreed and said often the goal in redesigning a kitchen is to improve the traditional “work triangle”, the path between the refrigerator, the food prep area, and the cooking area. The standard work triangle puts the sink midway between the refrigerator and the oven, with a food preparation surface between the oven and the sink.
“This traditional conception is being challenged by a new approach that focuses on ergonomic workstations, like those found in the workplace. Contemporary kitchens create functional zones for food preparation and cooking, clean up, and eating. For example, a freestanding island might be dedicated to food preparation, with storage for utensils and cutting boards,” he added.
Dubai-based Euro Cucina, supplier and manufacturer of kitchens and interiors to homeowners and businesses in the UAE and GCC, has opened a showroom in Um Suqeim Road. It offers a design and installation service, from space planning to worktops, tiles, flooring and site works.
Its line is based around three product ranges: Trend, Timeless and Individual. manufactured at its European facility, which was created in 1990.
The Trend range has lacquered handle-free doors and drawers, curves and etched glass. Timeless comes with soft closing drawers and doors, and Individual reflects craftsmanship with no limitations in design.
“The sink area plays a key role in modern kitchens with about 60% of kitchen work being carried out here,” said El-Kadi. “Whether it is used for washing dishes, cleaning vegetables or draining pasta, the sink is a central workplace in the kitchen. Its quality and functionality requirements are high. Outstanding design is a must.”
For El-Kadi at Duravit, designers like Philippe Starck and Sieger Design create sinks in a harmonious way using natural materials such as the Starck K and Kiora: “The range of sinks opens up lots of possibilities for individual design. And this does not stop at the colour; white, pergamon, chestnut, matt anthracite and black.
The colour of the ceramic will not fade, even when subjected to continuous direct light,’’ he said. “Hardly any other designer or architect has caused as much of a stir and amazement, or generated as much controversy as the French universalist Philippe Starck. He influences the design scene and sets trends that transcend all fashion. His outstanding approach is most certainly a product of his awareness of the unusual,” he said.
Top 10 design trends: National Kitchen & Bath Association
Cherry Wood in Decline
Cherry wood has consistently been the first or second most popular type of wood for cabinetry, but designers are slowly shifting away from it.
Natural kitchen cabinetry continues a steady move toward darker finishes. While light natural finishes have been recently specified by 30% of kitchen designers, medium natural finishes stand at 55%, with dark natural finishes at 58%. Among painted cabinetry, white continues to be the most popular option, as white cabinets have been recently specified by 59% of NKBA member kitchen designers.
Although glass remains a niche material for kitchen countertops, it’s been recently used by more than half of kitchen designers as a backsplash material, rising from 41% a year ago to 52%. Glass trails only natural stone tile at 60% and ceramic tile (including porcelain), which has been specified by some 74% of designers. Ceramic tile backsplashes are on the decline. Other popular backsplash materials are granite at 30% and quartz at 20%.
Despite the higher initial cost, light-emitting diode, or LED, lighting was specified by 50% of NKBA member kitchen designers entering 2010; that rate increased to 54% the following year and has jumped over the past year to 70%.
Designers are increasingly overlooking the standard tap with a detached side spray in favour of pull-out models that integrate the two functions into a single unit.
Transitional over traditional
Transitional (a blend of traditional and contemporary) is the most common style chosen. Transitional is typified by lines that are simpler than traditional, but more elaborate than contemporary to create a modern classic look. While the traditional style has consistently been used by three quarters of NKBA member designers in the kitchen, that figure fell to 58% this year.
The use of solid surfaces in the kitchen jumped from 11% to 26% from a year ago. This year, that number has increased again, as solid surfaces have been specified by 30% of designers for use in kitchens.
Grey was used as the overall colour scheme by 9% of designers prior to 2010, but that figure nearly doubled (to 17%) in 2011 and doubled again (to 33%). Whites and off-whites continue to be the most popular colour schemes in the kitchen, followed by beiges and “bones.” Brown is the third most popular colour.
Polished chrome’s return
Supplanted by brushed metal finishes in the past, polished chrome is staging a comeback. After being specified by 34% of designers in kitchens last year, polished chrome has been specified by 52% of NKBA member designers.
Stone and granite are popular, however they are porous and their propensity for staining and chipping can make them less than appealing in five years. New products like engineered stone, a stone and epoxy composite, are making inroads in the countertop industry.