Unlike most quarried stones with their slabbish heaviness, alabaster has a sense of mystery about it. Its liquid-like veining, its translucent depth, its alternating smokiness and luminescence—all these qualities combine to make it one of my favorite materials. And here are all those traits transformed into a verisimilar porcelain tile, making what could be considered an impractical surface an accessible design element. rex-cerart.it
Konstantin Grcic has been developing sink prototypes—lots of them, take my word for it—for Laufen, utilizing its SaphirKeramik material. The lightweight clay can be formed into tight corner radii, ultra-thin walls, and subtle textures; all properties Grcic is methodically exploring with both precision and vigor. We'll have to wait and see which designs make the cut, but this sneak peek should keep your curiosity up. laufen.com
In a different place and time, I would scoff at the idea of a mirrored vent hood—and in a picture frame, no less. But here and now, with neo-retro design still trending on, I'm content to set my aesthetic objections aside. Pitching off the wall, the Amelie hood recalls an old-world gallery installation. elica.com
With one foot in the 1970s and the other in the 2010s, this kitchen is revealing in its design. Wood-and-white, so popular some decades ago, has made quite the comeback; the contemporary twist is the flat-front door panels, with their emphasis on continuous horizontal grain. Another juxtaposition of past and present: the appliances. Brand-new wall ovens contrast with the age-old Aga cooker, tucked away in a paneled alcove. plaarchitects.ie
It's a bit depressing to think that in late 1950s-early 1960s, the kitchen environment was so generic that a refrigerator handle could imbue the room with style and character. Considering that the primitive capabilities of broadcasting limited folks to seeing classic television kitchen-sets of the same era [think 'Donna Reed' and 'Leave It to Beaver'] in black-and-white, we can only guess at how such a Technicolor accent would have impacted the room.
Artist Do Ho Suh stitches incredibly detailed, gossamer sculptures of buildings and interiors. Simply put, his work is about the memory of place. I'm finding the cloud-like, amorphous environments a suitable precursor to a long flight home. [The fact that the installation is sagging ever-so-slightly is not lost on me; in fact, it makes it all the more fitting.] lehmannmaupin.com
Leslie Clagett is a seasoned yet passionate observer of the international kitchen
and bath industries, and the founder of KBCULTURE.com. An editor at publications ranging from Arts +
Architecture to Kitchens & Baths, she is also the author of The New
City Home [The Taunton Press], among other books. Leslie has a
tremendous respect for quality design and the people who labor in its
pursuit; her discerning eye has been known to get a little misty in the
presence of true beauty.