A chef’s delight

A chef’s delight

CID talks to a number of key industry insiders to discuss the growing industry of kitchen design and what to expect this coming year

Whether in an open office or commercial space, at home or in a hotel suite, the kitchen is a prominent area of interior design that aptly needs to be looked after.

Whereas users typically furnish the other distinct spaces of an interior, the kitchen and bathroom should always be initially equipped with up-to-date and high standard fixtures that are equal to the value of the property.

This month, we take a look at kitchen design and question industry insiders from Cosentino, Kohler and BagnoDesign about the importance of good quality kitchen design and new trends to look forward to this year.

David Kohler, president and chief operations office of Kohler, explains: “When people look at buildings to purchase, they look most—or most critically—at kitchens and bathrooms. So the quality of the kitchens and bathrooms is very important. Study after study has shown that investment in kitchens and baths do actually increase the sale price and you can get a good return on investment.

“I think there is nothing more disappointing in what I’ve seen than some of these property developers in different parts of the world that are doing these beautiful, expensive-per-square-feet projects and apartments and they’re using cheap products.

It creates this dissonance…you’re not maintaining the same quality of design integrity, so as people who are interested in interior design, you want a property or a space that has a consistent level of quality and design integrity.”

Kohler then notes that he would urge developers to challenge their own creativity. With Expo 2020 on the horizon, projects need their claim to distinction—hence we’ve sourced new trends to keep in mind for not only interior designers, but project developers as well.

According to Ali Maarrawi, general manager Middle East, Cosentino, trends in kitchen design include horizontal shelving with large drawers and thin-edge work tops, as well as the colour grey.

Maarrawi notes upper cabinets are becoming a thing of the past in favour of horizontal and open shelving. These, he says, “create lots of breathing room. This European-modern look echoes the shelving’s strong horizontal lines with banks of drawers underneath for easy access. Usually this is perfectly married to the highly resistant and strong Silestone worktops…providing an exclusive elegance and modern design.”

He goes on to add: “Grey is one of the trendiest neutrals today. Grey cabinets can work with white for a clean, modern look … Neutral colours in matte laminate with textured wood accent finishes combined with raw or honed stone finishes, like the suede and volcano finishes of Silestone, instead of polished worktop finishes give longevity and warmth to a kitchen, which can be changed intermittently.”

Kerrie Black, marketing manager from BagnoDesign has also noticed the use of light coloured materials that perfectly suit open kitchen layouts. However, she also pointed out the growing popularity of trendy kitchen mixers and energy efficient products.

Black notes: “A hot topic right now is of course environmentally friendly, energy efficient products, and in a busy kitchen these products are vital. All of BagnoDesign’s kitchen mixers come with water saving options, reducing flow rates without hampering the product’s performance.”

While horizontal cabinets, neutral tones and environmentally friendly products are of greatest demand at the moment, developers and designers must continue to consider the users’ needs. As trends may not last forever, a user’s needs are somewhat predictable with the times and can be prepared for.

“When we talk about designing a kitchen space, our point of view is that great design should create emotion and everybody is different. What creates emotion in you is different than what creates emotion in me, but a space should create this emotional feeling or attachment,” says Kohler.

He adds: “So when we talk about kitchens, there’s a variety of benefits and a variety of consumers. Some consumers are passionate about cooking, and some consumers want to use their kitchens for entertaining. They don’t cook a lot, they may bring in food, but it’s a great gathering place to entertain and have fun.”

Black agrees with Kohler, and explains that smart kitchen design is dependent on the user’s habits. She says: “The trends we have noticed recently involve the use of durable light coloured materials, which complement an airy open plan kitchen, ideal for family interaction.”

When it comes to kitchen design, understanding trends and user needs are of paramount importance to creating successful interiors.

Examples of new market products include Kohler’s carbon faucet that’s ideal for contemporary kitchens, as well as its Sensate faucet that automatically senses the user and turns itself on or off.

BagnoDesign is currently offering a comprehensive range of hard-wearing granite sinks that are available in varying styles, sizes and colours.

As with all aspects of interior design, we can expect technology to continue playing a role in the future. As Peter Aylett, the technical director of Archimedia once told CID: “Today’s interiors are spaces where people are increasingly interacting with technology.

From personal scale devises, such as tablets and smart phones right up to whole house scale entertainment systems, our clients are increasingly demanding that technology be an integral part of the built environment.”

Kohler agrees, as he explains that technology is growing ever more popular in interior design and kitchen appliances are gradually adopting more technologically advanced ways for use.

“I think technology is continuing to proliferate in the kitchen,” Kohler notes. “And I think you’re going to continue seeing—in all appliances, whether plumbing products, dishwashers, and refrigeration—the use of iPads in the kitchen, the use of iPhones in the kitchen…The kitchen is becoming more of a technology hub, than it has ever been before.”

While Kohler notes that some of the technology increases the convenience of using an appliance, sometimes it can cause headaches and it is now becoming too advanced.

Aylett differentiated between ‘Digital Immigrants’, those who have had to learn and adapt to technology advances, and ‘Digital Natives’, those who have grown up with new age technology. And it seems that Kohler is unintentionally touching on this very distinction.

Kohler notes: “Some of the technology really adds value and some doesn’t. Some of these refrigerators are really becoming so advanced, they’re like spaceships … nobody really knows how to operate them. We believe technology like the kitchen faucets needs to be simple and intuitive. The best technology creates a better experience that is easy to use. I think technology is a huge theme and will continue to be so in the kitchen space.”

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