29 January 2010

Those Were the Days

In 1949, it seems that developing an optimal floor plan for the kitchen was still in its early stages; only later would people realize that putting the range in the middle of the room was not exactly the best way to go. But that is an insignificant quibble when compared to the many reasons for delight this ad presents. The fashionable ladies—young and matronly alike—are all so politely impressed by the appliance's 'Talking Colors': push-buttons whose hues indicated the temperature of the electric coils. And in an era when gloves were de rigueur, such 'finger-tip controls' were bound to receive a warm welcome.

One feature puzzles me—the 'Raisable 4th Surface Unit', which sounds like a military brigade of sorts. I call upon KBCULTURE readers for enlightenment.

28 January 2010

Room for Reflection

Designed in 1927 by Eileen Gray for her Villa E 1027, the Castellar mirror continues the pivoting details found throughout the house; its windows, shutters and screens could be swung open and closed to affect the architecture. It's always gratifying to see such care taken in the furnishing of a home. classicon.com

27 January 2010

Choice Seats

Speaking of comfortable seating.... The Morph stool catches the eye with its fresh take on form and fabrication. If I had a breakfast bar in my kitchen, this design would be a contender. Seen here in oak, it's also available in walnut. suiteny.com, zeitraum-moebel.de

26 January 2010

Fantasy Island

As winter drags on, it's tempting to daydream about a rejuvenating escape to warmer climes. Developed by NOA Design for Hoesch, the Water Lounge would make a quite acceptable substitute for a beach getaway: Clean water, comfortable seating, and a very handy side table, all without the aggravation of the airport. hoesch.de

25 January 2010

Period Pastiche

I believe the design of this kitchen will hold up—at least in the short term—over the years to come. Inserting anonymous, modern islands into the semi-classical, contoured space tweaks both the geometry and the style of the room. The Artichoke light [designed by Poul Henningsen in 1958] somehow makes me think of what might happen if all the dentil molding in the room was compressed into a ball—and then blown up. designlabarch.com, edlundhaasdesign.com

22 January 2010

Hocus Focus

Let's end the week with a little weirdness from 1963. While this Hoover washer offered eight different laundry 'programmes'—enough to impress even those 'who can afford the best'—it seems that the appliance might have had a small vibration problem. How else to explain the peculiar fuzziness of its admirers?

Another thought: As this ad appeared in UK publications, maybe it's a visual metaphor for Swinging London.

21 January 2010

A Clean Sweep

There is a poetry of form in this sink; it is at once architectural and sculptural, defining space and being defined by it. Lest I sound too arch, allow me to point out that the base of the pedestal can be pristine ceramic [as shown] or a length of nicely turned wood, adding a material accent to the fixture that makes it compatible with different decors. azzurraceramica.com

20 January 2010

Aesthetic Essentials

Ah, the simple life. The Zero 200 mini-kitchen, minimalist as it is, strikes me as entirely fulfilling. In a guest house or pied-รก-terre it would be more than serviceable, but it would be a shame not to enjoy its confident proportions and elegant features on a daily basis. xeraonline.com

19 January 2010

Pour It On

As a composition, this faucet strikes an unusual balance. Rising up from the solid cylindrical base, the graceful arc culminates in a clumpy aerator—and it works, at least for me. While its design heritage is obviously rooted in the contemporary classics, this look is borderline avant-garde. bongio.it

18 January 2010

Tip Topsy

In a typical vanity design, it would be the stone slab that supports the sink; the porous, water-sensitive wood would be used as shelving below. The Latis vanity, though, turns that formula upside down to a most pleasing effect. omvivo.com

15 January 2010

Friday Flashback

May I suggest an asbestos shroud?

Wait—maybe I'm being too quick to judge this 1966 ugly duckling of an appliance. It does sport some redeeming functional features. The eye-level controls, for one; they're easier to reach than many of today's back-panel designs. And the warming shelf would prove quite handy, I'm sure. But that color, those coils and the alarmingly flimsy 'wood' handle: the Gallery range lays an aesthetic goose-egg.

14 January 2010

Counter Cultured

This Polar Cap [the color of this countertop] won't melt—or scratch, stain or scorch, for that matter. Made with recycled, pulverized mirror that's bound together with a corn-based resin, the surfacing is an environmentally-friendly alternative to quarried stone and man-made slabs that contain petroleum-based binding agents. All ten designs in the Eco line boast a content of 75% post-consumer or post-industrial materials. ecobycosentino.com

13 January 2010

Go to the Mat

A well-considered solution to an irksome problem, the Roller Mat unfurls over a drainboard or a basin for use, then rolls up and away for easy storage. The rubber edges keep it from slipping and protect the stainless steel sinks from scratches. It could do double duty as a hot plate, too. frankeksd.com

12 January 2010

Simply Illuminating

Coming across the Equilibre Fluo pendant fixture certainly brightened my day. Not only is it lovely to look at, its technology is ingenious. Concealed by the aluminum housing are two light sources: Fluorescent up-lamps and a downward-shining halogen pinlight. Stunning, if I may say so. prandina.it

11 January 2010

Tropical Tiles

These wood tiles, pieced together with shards of coconut shells, have a robust tactile quality that somehow underscores their eco-conscious origin. The patterns are appealingly primitive, too.

[It just struck me that there's a material connection between this post and the previous one, where palm trees—albeit artificial ones—figure prominently. Pure coincidence, I promise you.] kireiusa.com

08 January 2010

Miami? No, Brighton.

Designed by John Nash for the gregarious George IV in 1816, the Great Kitchen of the Royal Pavilion at Brighton was lauded for its modern features—including rudimentary running water. Today, the kitchen isn't quite as bustling as portrayed in this rendering, but the palm-tree columns still stand tall. royalpavilion.org.uk

George imported Frenchman Antonin Careme to head up his new kitchen. While I have not read Ian Kelly's biography of the inventive chef, it certainly looks like a most appetizing book.

07 January 2010

Flattering Form

The flatness of this faucet certainly makes it stand out. 'Cut' is the name of the collection of fittings, in which conventional pipe-like plumbing is reduced to visually provocative slices. Adding to the drama is the chrome-and-matte black combo finish. rubinetterie3m.it

06 January 2010

Well Done

Most toilets fall into one of two design schools: silly or boring. This model, commanding in form yet understated in feel, is a serious, successful piece of work. Dutch architect Wiel Arets created the commode as part of a bathroom suite called Il Bagno Alessi Dot; I think it has the potential to become a contemporary classic. laufen.com

05 January 2010


The stark landscape of winter [see yesterday's post] has apparently lodged in my subconscious; hence this little black and snowy-white number. Rubbing a patch of frost off the window recreates the design of the cabinet doorfronts. The graceful arms of the art nouveau light fixture bring to mind the bare limbs of a tree. Despite all, it's a cozy kitchen, indeed.

04 January 2010

Winter Garden

The limpid forms of the flora and the grey-on-white color scheme of the Botanical Study sink are an all-too-accurate reflection of the icy beauty that this cold season can foster. In comparison, right now the idea of a stainless steel basin just gives me the chills. kohler.com

01 January 2010

Power Center

Imagine the disappointment, the anger, the shame: Had you been gifted with a complete collection of small appliances this holiday [or had you been in 1957, the year of this ad] and excitedly plugged them all in at once, only to plunge the house into darkness by having overloaded a circuit. With two integral outlets and three retractable cords, this centralized power panel promised to do away with that threat. The most genteel homemaker is so utterly entranced by the product that I don't think there's a basis for the 'blown fuse' double entendre.

Let's hope for as happy a new year, shall we?