One part of the job when you’re a designer is attending seminars to keep current. Now I know this isn’t unique to my profession, everyone in every industry needs to be aware of new technology, products and procedures but I am not so sure that it’s as much fun in other careers- but maybe that’s just because I love what I do. I really enjoy those days when I get to go learn about new things.
I was at one such seminar recently on kitchen design. It was entitled A Concept Kitchen for 2010+. I had a great time and picked up a few new ideas to take away. While I was there for 3 hours I will try and distill the essence down for you and pick out the highlights.
On a very general level the trend is swinging away from big, showy spaces with natural everything and the best of the best whether you cook or not to more casual, cleaner, crisper spaces with a little bit of sparkle. Now there can be many discussions as to why this is happening but we’ll leave it at the simplest level of- they are trends and must therefore always change. I am not going to go into the why’s in this entry but believe me there are reasons behind the shift.
One thing that surprised me was how much of “tomorrow’s” kitchen are already being integrated into Colorado kitchen’s. The spaces that I have worked on the last year or so all show aspects of these new trends. Whether we are more open in out neck of the woods or that we just really like the casual way spaces are evolving I am not sure but we seem to be slightly ahead of the curve around here.
Some of the exciting new things you are seeing or will be seeing soon come from Europe. Now first I’ll start by telling you there are core differences in the the approach to cabinet design that I won’t bore you with but these differences lead to a big divergence in approach and execution of kitchen and bath design. The more cutting edge modern kitchens are born of this European way of thinking.
One of the things I really like is how new kitchens are being thought of more as whole units or blocks of space rather than individual cases that are joined together. This is the “crisper” in the trend. It is most easily seen in very contemporary design where one whole wall will look like a built in or wall of wood and upon closer inspection they are cabinets with specific functions behind them. It can also still be used in more traditional finish choices because this approach allows the spaces to be divided up beyond the simple “work triangle” into zones such as cooking, cleaning, prep, entertaining, breakfast, eating, etc.
Another big shift is a break with the insistence to use natural products everywhere. Granite, wood, copper, etc. are still used and very popular but the new kitchens are focusing more on performance and design of the individual items that make up the space. As we become more aware of the carbon footprint of many products and long term effects on the planet there is a subtle shift to incorporate the wonderful new green products and technologies out there. This is leading to a new level of mixing old and new to create layers of beauty and a complex simplicity which appears to be highly edited. Everything in these spaces has a purpose or it’s not there, this is the “cleaner” in the trend. I see this happening in many ways: porcelain tiles making a comeback reinvented in large scale formats which has the added benefit of smaller and less grout lines to contend with, induction cooking which is 70% more efficient than gas, concrete and other man made counter options, glass tiles and other shinny surfaces used throughout the kitchen.
As far as the “sparkle” in the trend. Who doesn’t want a little glam in the kitchen? It’s a space most of us spend a lot of time in and we want to feel like maybe every day is a bit of a special occasion. I see this in the continued popularity of stainless steel, glamours tile back splashes and bold color choice or high contrasts.
I hope you enjoyed the information I’ve shared and found it fun to hear where kitchens might be going from here. As I mentioned earlier I really like those days where I get to learn something new.