30 November 2009

All Steamed Up

In my book, there's nothing like a sauna to help displace any post-prandial pounds that may have accumulated over the recent holiday. But going cold turkey isn't my style—I like the beverage center that's conveniently integrated into this design. tylo.com

27 November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

No three-fan convection oven, temperature probes, or non-stick roasting rack in the kitchen of the Governor's Palace at Colonial Williamsburg. Just fire, and a rather impressive spit-turning apparatus. history.org

25 November 2009

Hands-On Cooking

The design of the Molteni range is conducive to theatrical cooking. Rather than individual burners, the flattop is essentially a large griddle; it's hottest in the center, and surrounded by progressively cooler areas. Sliding pans around the surface—with a dramatic flourish, to be sure—controls cooking temperatures. A coordinating rotisserie unit completes the set. molteni.com

24 November 2009

Good Taste

Roll up the Green Seasoning Trolley to bring a fresh flavor—not to mention sight—to the groaning board. Garden herbs are stored in root-shaped water reservoirs and can be snipped, plucked or picked right at the table. rolandpietersmit.com

23 November 2009

Custom Cooking

Here in the US, it's Thanksgiving week—when gluttonous quantities of good food and good company dominate the domestic agenda. The kitchen-centric holiday will serve as an anchor point for this week's posts. I'll kick it off with the CombiSet series of sleek, modular cooking elements. Deep fryer, steamer, radiant and induction burners, even a tepan yaki grill—these and more can be installed any way you like. miele.com

20 November 2009

Then and Now

This week's flashback is a two-fer; in a roundabout, ironic way, there is a linkage between the two scenes.

In 1949, the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel was bustling with dozens of finalists in the inaugural Pillsbury Bake-Off. Sixty years after No-Knead Water-Rising Twists captured first prize, the cooking competition is still going strong.

Not so with the setting of our second photo. It's a shot of the now-deserted test kitchen of Gourmet, a fine publication that did not deserve to die. Kevin DeMaria, associate art director of the magazine, made a series of elegiac images of the office during its final days.

19 November 2009

Design Current/s

There's a paradox presented by this prototype. 'Panay: The Bath-Island', is a promising study for a self-contained washing station, replete with tub, sink and shower. But an island is surrounded by water; this concept is a vessel to hold water. I hope to see more from the designers, an Austrian duo called undpartner[punkt]at. undpartner.at

17 November 2009

A Sinking Feeling

Some people have a thing for fancy cars or couture dressing; I'm a big fan of big kitchen sinks. Interchangeable cutting boards, integral colanders, wash-down areas, multiple bowls, varying basin depths: Such are the things that genuinely fascinate me. The Zeno sink offers several of these functional flairs, and tosses in an oddball geometry to boot. I am content. teka.com

16 November 2009

See Worthy

Submariner style has surfaced. The Porthole tub can play it cute [painted yellow, it's a knowing nod to the Beatles] or quirky [finished in black, it's a funky steampunk statement]. The choice is yours—whatever look floats your boat. watermonopoly.com

13 November 2009

From the Cleanliness Bureau

In 1956, LIFE magazine ran an article titled 'A Treasury of Old Tubbery', which featured a number of historic bathing apparatuses. The one I've selected to share is from the 1880s; it was originally described as 'the common sense invention of the age'. My immediate reaction is to wonder what inventions would be considered nonsensical, but then we live in a time when the home bathing experience is enhanced by colored lights, musical scores and even vibrating tubs.

Nota bene: The omnipotent Google has made available the contents of a huge number of LIFE issues online; if you have a soft spot for blasts from the past, I guarantee you'll spend hours and hours paging through them. I did.

12 November 2009

A Fresh Take

Etching a lace pattern onto a steel plate, which then tops off a vintage work table—I admire the process and the purpose behind this novel piece. It melds the machine- and man-made, new technologies and old. momantai-design.com

11 November 2009

Yikes! Stripes!

While it may not sport my favorite color combo, this spiffy little number brightly reminds us that fittings don't have to be brushed nickel or polished chrome. The V-Tondo lav faucet is an eye-opener, to be sure. savil.it

10 November 2009

Subtle Changes

Lo these many years ago, I met Roy McMakin in Los Angeles; he had opened a store stocked with his own furniture designs, and I was an editor at Arts + Architecture magazine. While times and places have changed, his pursuit of slightly irregular space continues, to my great delight. domesticarchitecture.com

09 November 2009

Stocking Upward

I can't say I've seen a pantry unit that combines a bistro aesthetic with a rather contemporary jumble of drawers, shelves and bins—until now. The brass corner bumpers are a nice touch, as are the twin dispensing modules on the top tier. Here they're holding dried pasta, but I can easily see them filled with a few pounds of arabica beans. maggimassimo.it

06 November 2009

A True Trophy Stove

In the last part of the 19th century, Detroit was the hub of the American cookstove industry. This was documented at the 1893 World's Colombian Exposition, where a Garland stove made of oak loomed large. Measuring 25 feet tall, 30 feet long and 25 feet wide, the colossal cooker [which, contrary to this postcard image, was distinctly earthbound] has survived, in various locations, to this day. However, with future of the Michigan State Fairgrounds [its current home] now up in the air, the fate of the range is uncertain.

05 November 2009

Talking Shop

Mick De Giulio, owner of de Giulio Kitchen Design in Chicago, recently answered a few questions for 'Talking Shop', a recurring feature at KBCULTURE.

As a designer, my greatest responsibility is...
The principal responsibility of a designer is to always be thoughtful. Each design challenge presents an opportunity to improve people's surroundings and enhance their lives. This means going beyond the obvious or what may be asked for initially. We also have the responsibility to give our clients the very best of our efforts each and every time.

One of my creative touchstones is...
Finding the right combinations. I like to think that I am not afraid to put things together in unique ways; for me, that means mixing a lot of ideas, materials or vocabularies which can be harmonious or not. When ideas or materials are mixed, there is an exponential increase of the possibilities.

A current project I am exploring is...
I am working on a book about kitchen design.

If I had a week off from the studio, I would...
Just being with my family is the first thing that comes to mind. Sometimes just doing nothing helps regenerate the creative spirit; other times, it might be better to get away to a different environment to help unwind and see things in a different, more relaxed way.

04 November 2009

Detail Oriented

Here's a cheery take on the country kitchen. It's very Terence Conran [80s incarnation], yes? But in reality, it's Italian in origin, done in 2009. I like the trim over the hanging cabinets; it binds them to the wall in a way that's suitable to this style. The typical installation [without the trim] would change the room's character significantly. minacciolo.it

03 November 2009

Spot On

The Brits have a knack for merging pedigree with Pop [remember the grating slogan 'Cool Britannia'?]. And they've done it again with this Aga range that's been decked out in polka dots. A collaboration with designer Emma Bridgewater, the limited edition marks the manufacturer's 300th anniversary. aga-ranges.com

02 November 2009

Uploading a Look

If the selection at the local tile showroom doesn't thrill you, the accommodating folks at Glass Decor will transfer the jpeg of your choice onto glass mosaics. A close-up of olives on the backsplash or thunderclouds in the shower enclosure? The possibilities are interesting, to say the least. glassdecor.es