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IMM Living Kitchen in Cologne

This design by Störmer Küchen is on display at the Living Kitchen show in Cologne right now.  It is interesting to see how the boundaries between kitchen and living space have become blurred!  This idea is going to be increasingly popular in the coming years as kitchens are now the functional backdrop to our home lives.
Love the use of LED lighting to the underside of the worktop and the wall units also look great!  Check out the asymmetrical nature of design which is made more orderly by the linear matrix of the doors and drawers….. another trend for 2011!
More from Cologne coming soon!

Designer Kitchen

It was only going to be a matter of time until The Mogul decided to comment on one of Philippe Starck’s creations for Warendorf.  The Mogul’s initial reaction was to dismiss the range as a grotesque celebration of ego, an example of the industry bowing to the power of one individual, and embracing the control of a celebrity designer.  And yes, this range is guilty of putting Starck on a pedestal, enabling him to loom over other less celebrated designers who create change and industry drive on a daily basis, and are using more humble budgets to do so. 
But you do have to appreciate Starck’s skill as a designer.  There is real depth to this design and he is obviously a keen observer of the industry, either that or he is able to take advice well!  His range could be described as a selection of “unfitted kitchen pods with a flamboyant sprinkling of eccentric”!  Aesthetically there is a drive to be unusual, a blatant effort to be “designer”; and this element of the concept certainly ticks all the right boxes for many. 
The exclusive looking trumpet legs work brilliantly adding design flair and hiding the island services in a dignified way.  The appliances can be hidden behind doors, aesthetically neutering the functionality of the kitchen and allowing it to become the centre piece of any home.  Special motors have even been included that dissipate residual heat from the ovens so that the door can be closed immediately after use. 
One thing The Mogul is unsure about though is what happens to the tall “oven modesty” door whilst the ovens are actually being used, does it protrude into the room causing an obstruction or does it neatly slide into a pocket only to be pulled out when cooking is finished?  If this design is pocket-less it could easily loss points on the functionality front and the number one rule of kitchen design will have been broken.
Overall though this is a great design and it shows why Starck is still seen to be at the top of the professional design ladder.

Kitchen Therapy….whatever next???

The kitchen has become the backdrop to our home life, a reassuring companion that will imprint on our future memories.  What better way to give these memories a calming influence than to integrate a holistic powerhouse into the design.
Aquariums have the ability to fascinate humans in an extremely therapeutic way projecting positive energy and allowing us to enter a primary meditative state.  The medical profession has found that patients suffering from mental health problems and trauma can be calmed; entering a hypnotic state of consciousness by simply gazing into an aquarium. 
This design by Robert Timmons uses the aquarium to project colour and movement into the space.    The architecture becomes instantly animated with the viewer receiving a strong visual impact from the design.  You can almost forget that this space is defined by the term kitchen, it has become more than that, it is a space where you want to spend time, a space that re-energizes your soul! 
This is an example of “Next Level Kitchen Design”.   Here the designer considers not just the form and function of the kitchen but also the long term wellbeing of the people who occupy the space.
Aquarium kitchens!…..whatever will they think of next!!

Backdrop Kitchen

The kitchen has truly become the backdrop to our home lives!  A functionally adaptable and socially welcoming space!

Functional Concentration

There has been a lot of effort put into this design in order to make it progressively different.  The overall look is great with many of the contemporary “must have” design features being included; but could it be argued that this design is trying too hard?
The island dominates the space and gives credence to the idea that the modern kitchen can be inspired by an island alone, and that if this element is designed correctly you don’t really need anything else.  The islands dominance is helped further by it being positioned at an angle to the surrounding architecture creating the minimal, art gallery feel.  But you really need to have ample room at home to get away with this idea, and you may have to present a strong case to your client, as doing this certainly eats up floor space. 
There is loads of worktop area here and The Mogul loves the off-set open shelves on the front of the island which are functional and offer a beautiful camouflage for potential mess at the sink.  However, The Mogul feels uneasy with the asymmetrical positioning of the units along the back wall!  They are abstract and tick one of the essential “contemporary kitchen trend” boxes, but The Mogul feels that there is too much open space between the floor and the units….what would this space be used for? 
This may be an example of how the quest for the most commercially appealing, aesthetically beautiful kitchen design can lead to a lapse in functional concentration! 

Future Kitchen by The Mogul – As seen in KBB Magazine April 2011.

There are many things in life that help to define who we are; where we live, the clothes we wear and the car we drive all help to identify our place in society.  The kitchen however reaches beyond materialistic values and presents an opportunity for cultural, social and family unity within the sanctuary of the home.  The kitchen defines who we are, what we like, how we eat and how we live.   We are already part of a kitchen culture. 
The kitchen culture is influenced by fashion, art, food, technology, architecture and the need for personal comfort and that is why the kitchen of tomorrow has become a complex , multi layered product that can be tailored to every individual set of lifestyle choices. 

The kitchen shown above by MVK Italia illustrates how the modern kitchen can be defined by the units that are not actually there.  This image is strong and shows that a kitchen can actually be used to define the space surrounding it.  The Kitchen is becoming an artistic formation of architecturally adaptable islands that anchor function and sociability in an open plan setting. 

It can be said that the kitchen is developing into the artistic definition of the architecture that surrounds it.  Multiple islands connected by a bridging element in a contrasting material or texture is something to watch out for in 2011.

Shape Shifting kitchens are making the journey from concept to reality allowing for a seamless movement between various states of use.  This idea of a transforming kitchen offers versatility and flexibility to the user, ideal in an open plan setting. 
The use of lighting and neutrally coloured materials will become more popular as these two elements can assist the illusion of the kitchen becoming fused with the surrounding architecture, allowing it to become invisible.
Asymmetrical design is the art of creating a harmonious aesthetical appearance from a calculated imbalance.  Multiple manufacturers are now seeing this as a way of facilitating function while accommodating the progressive integration of the kitchen and living space.  Expect to see more shelving units, multiple unit sizes and heights which will help to create natural voids softening the appearance of the kitchen into something more reflective of furniture found in a living space!
Tomorrows kitchen is actually available today complete will all kinds of technologically advanced features designed to aid ergonomics and functionality as well as enhancing the holistic experience for the user. 
Kitchen automation is increasingly popular with many designs now integrating electrically powered, touch sensitive mechanisms in order to assist the user.  This idea also enhances the aesthetics, removing the need for handles and creating a streamline, linear look. 
Many designers now appreciate the need for entertainment in the kitchen and have integrated I-pods, TV’s and even aquariums into their designs.   There is now a real thirst to satisfy all five of the human senses which will make these ideas increasingly more popular in 2011.

So what is happening right now?  Ultra thin worktops, increased automation, pale pastel colours mixed with a contrasting material and disappearing appliances  all come top of the list for 2011. 
But one of the most important developments in kitchen design for this year and beyond is a change in attitude!  People are now more aware of their own needs at home, we are a style conscious, well educated nation of kitchen buyers who appreciate that a well designed kitchen can bring harmony to the home in 2011 and beyond. 

Kitchen Architecture

Humans like to architecturally compartmentalize, to create intimate spaces for introverted reflection and congregational hot spots for sharing conversation and enjoying each other’s company.  It could be argued that these spaces are socially required to break down the inevitable tensions caused by cohabitation and to provide separation between areas of the home used for different functions at different times of the day.
Here we see how the kitchen can dominate an open plan setting and create subtle divisions which help to define unique areas within a space which is devoid of walls.  The colours and unity between kitchen, furniture and space add continuity to the overall design and showcase how the kitchen has become one of the most defining elements within any residential property.

English Kitchen

England, a country of grassy meadows filled with dancing buttercups, blue skies and stone built walls that traverse the lush countryside connecting us to the deep ancestry of our forefathers.  And an English kitchen is a Chalon kitchen.
Walk  down the stairs and enter this room on a summers morning, birds are singing and there is a smell of fresh tea in the air.  Open your sliding sash windows to let the smell of freshly cut hay enter your nostrils, and you know that you are home.  This is England, and this is what the Chalon experience is all about!!
Timeless and extremely fashionable these framed and colourfully distressed designs reach beyond the room that we call the kitchen.  They are a timeless reminder of the unparalleled craftsmanship our very society has been built on!
The Mogul Approves.

The Kitchen Wears The Trousers!

Everyone dreams of creating an architectural statement that resonates with individual style and has the cultural presence of a cathedral, a timeless monument of who we are and an outward expression of how we react to the World around us. 
It is therefore fitting that this building, which has been deliberated and planed for years, a dream which has become a physical reality, and is subjectively believed to be the “eighth wonder of the world” should be given a heart that pulsates to the rhythm of your needs.
But has this architectural marvel been created to frame the centre piece of your home?  Is the architecture just an afterthought, built upon and embedded within the bigger picture, the one thing you have really wanted to become a reality….your dream kitchen?! 
Here we see the kitchen becoming an island and the lines between kitchen and architecture becoming blurred.  Each element needs the other and the relationship is designed to be mutually complementary!  
There is also an interesting contradiction here whereby the architecture is conceived from wood, a naturally sympathetic material! The kitchen on the other hand is constructed from the more industrially dominant materials of steel and concrete!  Usually this relationship would be the other way around!  Is this a visual and physical euphemism for the kitchen now wearing the trousers in this particular relationship?!

Closet Kitchen

Imagine that you have never seen or used a kitchen before, imagine that the kitchen design rule book has been thrown out the window and you now have an opportunity to design a kitchen that functions well and looks beautiful.  Would you create something like this?

This design has all the influence of new age kitchen design and illustrates perfectly how the kitchen is now the focal point of our home lives.  The modern kitchen has “come out” of its architectural closet and now enjoys prancing around our home demanding our adoration. 
The modern kitchen is no longer classified as an ineffective series of air filled boxes covering every possible inch of wall space; kitchens are now smaller, detached from the floor, asymmetrically balanced and designed with finesse and artistic flair.  There is now great attention to hidden detail which gives the kitchen confidence to subtly dominate our living space.  
This design is brilliant and The Mogul would be happy with all of the elements seen here being included on page one of the new kitchen design manual.  The question is….where does kitchen design go from here?  The Mogul is not telling you yet!