26 February 2010

'More Wonderful'

Putting a toddler in front of a refrigerator should make the appliance seem larger, right? In this 1956 image, it didn't quite work out that way, at least to my eye. Scale notwithstanding, the Foodarama family is sure happy in their well-stocked kitchen—why, I bet if given a chance, they would burst into the catchy Kelvinator song [and maybe the dance, too]. I am happy for them.

25 February 2010

White Out

You dear, patient readers who put up with my griping about this interminable winter, I beg your pardon. Again. Today's storm—which will segue into tomorrow's storm—threatens to snap my senses as it has snapped several tree limbs. Well after dark, we are in the midst of a white out.

Is it ironic that I find some solace in these back-lit panels of white quartz? Their patterned surface reassures me that Nature has more to offer than a seamless, suffocating blanket of drifting snow. concettous.com

24 February 2010

Head's Up

Looking like a cross between a turban and a UFO, this shower head certainly isn't for the timid. More than its form, its material impresses me: It's Murano glass. And it's available in colors other than this ultra-dramatic black. bongio.it

23 February 2010

Compact Impact

While designed for small spaces, the tidy look of the Nook lav would certainly translate to more spacious bathrooms; I can envision two—or even three—of them installed in a neat row. It's flexible, too: Faucets can be wall- or deck-mounted. azzurraceramica.com

22 February 2010

Design In Sight

While many decisions—on matters material, procedural, proportional and more—go into the making of a successful design, there are instances when a single element comprises the make-or-break factor of a space. In this bathroom, a window placed over the tub is the key to its appeal, acting as source of light as well as a compositional linchpin. johnclagettarchitect

19 February 2010

Spin Cycle

Detroit Edison has given us much to contemplate here—or 'there', back in 1956. Anticipation and regret, freedom and servitude, humanity and automation: Pretty heavy stuff, coming from a utility company.

The washer is imperturbable, despite its novelty. Newly ensconced as the electric savior of the household, it sits dutiful and uncomplaining, even though it is fated to a life of loneliness.

The woman exits the laundry with a slightly uneasy backward glance. She knows full well her future is 'touch and go'. How will the inevitable additional appliances impact her world? Will they support or supplant her?

Marshall McLuhan said, 'The future is not what it used to be.' I say, it's enough to keep you up at night.

18 February 2010

Just a Peek

I'm choosing to feature this oblique view of the Clip vanity because it showcases several qualities that set the bath cabinet apart from the crowd. There's depth and dimension to its imaginatively-plotted curves. There's an aesthetic relationship between the sink unit, the hardware and the overall form of the furniture. And I always appreciate a dialogue between traditional and contemporary design schools. If you're like-minded, you won't mind exploring the manufacturer's full catalogue. eurolegno.it

17 February 2010

Knit Witty

These dangling fixtures give new meaning to 'warm light': They are clad in a knitted sweater of sorts, which covers the length of the cord and the socket. Cool-burning bulbs are used in the Matt light, which is designed to be draped, looped and coiled to suit your needs. llotllov.de

16 February 2010

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere

I'm going to keep this post brief. Another half-foot of fresh snow shoveled this afternoon, and I am fast running out of patience with Old Man Winter. I'll leave it to you clever readers what motivated my decision to feature this particular faucet [it's part of the Ella style family].

And now I must be going. Cheers! elkayusa.com

15 February 2010

Good Work

There's something pleasingly different about this kitchen. Bands of wood—ordinary lumber stock, not exotic species—inject warmth, nature and a grounding element into the gallery-white room. The moss-green glass backsplash buffers the design from accusations of being simplistic. And how nice to see artwork placed sensitively in the room. retrouvius.com

12 February 2010

Love is Strange

The floor-to-ceiling shag [ahem] carpeting, the exotic/mod light fixtures, the romantic color palette and, of course, the heart-shaped tub—all the elements of enticement are present in Jayne Mansfield's boudoir. The 1961 feminine equivalent of a bachelor pad, the space was certainly befitting a siren of her, err, stature.

11 February 2010

Hot and [Not] Steamy

Designed by Robert Brunner [an alumnus of Pentagram and Apple], this glass-sheathed range hood turns up the visual heat in the kitchen with its lithe lines and look-at-me color. zephyronline.com

10 February 2010

Smooth Operator

I had originally selected this sink for inclusion in our Valentine-themed feature based on its sensuous contours and its built-for-two design. It could certainly make for a compelling rendezvous spot for morning ablutions.

But now it has assumed another significance: It looks like snow. We're halfway through a storm that will undoubtedly be given an overblown nickname by breathless local broadcasters and after two bouts of shoveling, I'm not so sure I like this sink as much as I did yesterday. Maybe it's just a sink-lover's spat? kanera.de

09 February 2010

Talking Shop

Judd Lord, Director of Industrial Design for Brizo and Delta Faucet brands, recently answered a few questions for 'Talking Shop', a recurring feature at KBCULTURE.

As a designer, my greatest responsibility is...
To interpret unmet needs and to influence, in a positive and responsible way, people's everyday lives through the objects I design.

An industry trend I'm watching is...
There are several. One is 'mass customization'—an oxymoron, to be sure, but it's the best way I've come up with to describe how mass-production manufacturers are providing consumers choices that are tailored to their personal tastes; that is, allowing a customer to customize a product aesthetically and/or functionally so it suits their wants and needs. It plays off people's innate desire for change and innovation. And it's heavily reliant on ever-improving manufacturing methods and creative uses of materials; a process newer generations are going to expect.

Another issue is aging in place. Architectural spaces and the objects that 'inhabit' them have to allow us to live as independently as possible for as long as possible. Design done correctly is beneficial to all, whether you're 5 or 95 years old.

Finally, water conservation is important. As stewards in the dispensing of this most precious commodity, there is growing attention being paid by us and the industry as a whole to its more efficient use. For example, the flow rate for all our lavs has been dialed back from the industry standard of 2.5 gallons per minute to 1.5 GPM. We've also invested a tremendous amount of R&D resources into our shower technologies, to enhance the bather's experience while using much less water.

The best part of my job is...
Working with a talented team in the reinterpretation of mundane, everyday objects in such a way that it makes end users rethink a product's importance and the benefits it's brought into their lives.

08 February 2010

In Hot [Pink] Water

With Valentine's Day on the horizon, I thought we'd share the love at KBCULTURE this week by featuring some items and environments that celebrate amour.

Were the Kouple tub rendered in any hue other than a flaming fuschia, it would be just another sculptural soaker. As its designer, Karim Rashid, is partial to the more extreme reaches of the color wheel, though, there's little risk of that happening. Time to pass the bubble bath. saturn.co.kr

05 February 2010

Clean Machine

The name of this 1968 dishwasher perplexes me. 'Fliptop', of course, is self-explanatory; I'm on board with that descriptor. But what about 'Dishmobile'? There's no indication this is a portable appliance.

Nonetheless, I'm happy to see the model isn't put off by this fussy contradiction. She's obviously tickled pink by the 'Jack-in-the-box racks' that pop up when the lid is opened. For my part, I love how the color of the type coordinates with the stripes of her minidress. Ah, the mysteries of marketing.

04 February 2010

Looking Glass

In her hand-crafted tiles, Ellen Blakeley combines broken tempered glass with materials ranging from metallic foils to fabric; often, the grout is meticulously multi-colored. This example is called Spring Leaf. But on this February day, with a snow storm coming in, I see this tile in a different light: The foliage is embedded in a layer of ice, like leaves frozen into the surface of a pond. ellenblakeley.com

03 February 2010

A Pivotal Point

My apologies to lefties—as in -handed, not the political slant—in advance. The control lever of the Farca swings sideways, which allows the faucet to keep an unobtrusively low profile. The design, by Ezequiel Farca, displays a quiet, contemporary elegance; I like the circular top-tip of the hinge. stanza.com.mx

02 February 2010

Full Circle

A steel cable laces through the sides of the Bucatini sink, prompting the empiricist in me to muse about leaks. Of course, it's double-walled and water-tight—but I appreciate any design that forces a second look, and causes reflection rather than simple reaction. And this basin gets a bonus point for wittiness: Bucatini is a long, tube-like pasta. agapedesign.it

01 February 2010

In the Hot Seat

While it's named after the sweat lodges of the Lakota Native Americans, the Inipi sauna bears no physical resemblance to those prairie huts. Light and contemporary, it pleasingly departs from the Scandinavian wooden-cabin school, as well. There are five pre-programmed environmental scenarios, each offering different climate conditions, soundtracks and lighting designs. And it's smartly engineered to accommodate a shower module. duravit.com