A Light Touch

Resembling truncated Parcheesi pawns [Google it if you must] done in fresh colors, these pendants would loosen up any sterile minimalist space without rocking the less-is-more boat too much. Or so I think. Bonus: The body is metal, not plastic. archirivolto.it

Throwing a Curve

Rendered in lily-white, the classic Tara faucet surprises me with its delicacy—a striking change in attitude from its stainless steel or black incarnations. I think using it in a bathroom would add both grace and strength to the design. dornbracht.com

Conflict Resolution

The pragmatist in me is huffing and puffing about adjacent set-down space and reckless backsplash treatment. The aesthete in me is politely swooning over the simplicity and directness of this raw yet polished installation. Score: Aesthete 1, Pragmatist, 0.

Of Note

Happy birthday, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The architect was born on this date in 1886, in Aachen, Germany. Pictured above, his Farnsworth House, in Plano, Illinois. It was built in 1929.

Looking Good

Her sly, confident look—with eyes seemingly focused beyond the kitchen—raises my suspicions that this happy homemaker may have something other than food cooking here. Locating the cooktop controls up on the ventilation hood allegedly eliminated 'stooping and bending', but wouldn't those actions likely have been replaced with stretching and straining? Even in the dream kitchens of 1961, a woman's work, while easier, was never really done.

Smart Space

When the doors of this powder 'room' are closed, I'm sure it's a very cozy situation—but nonetheless, I'm impressed with both the concept and execution of the design. Installing a wall-hung toilet saves nearly a foot of floor area, and horizontal tiling on the wall orients the space effectively. Nicely done.

Mellow Yellow

Daffodils. Sunshine. Forsythia. Marshmallow Peeps.

And the Tap sink. lagares.com

Talking Shop

Valentin Tijeras, Director of Product Development for Cosentino, recently answered a few questions for 'Talking Shop', a recurring feature at KBCULTURE.

As a designer, my greatest responsibility is...
Finding the balance between designing appealing products for our customers in a manner that is profitable yet environmentally responsible and sustainable.

One of Cosentino's creative strengths is...
The ability to walk in our customers' shoes.

A current project I'm focusing on is...
I'm always exploring new and innovative ways of using our materials.

An industry trend that I'm watching is...
Customers are smarter. They are more educated and demand more of us.

The best part of my job is...
It's endless fun. I love what I do.

High & Dry

While I admire the elliptical elegance of the Steward dry urinal, it's the fixture's eco credentials that really make it a fitting post for World Water Day. Liquid waste is trapped under a surface layer of odor-killing, low-density sealing liquid, and is displaced into the waste line—no water or flushing required. kohler.com

Wash Day Blues [or Chartreuse]

It's 1951, and ukuleles, aprons and a rather bilious yellow-green color were all the rage. Those fads have passed, thankfully. But the interest in simplifying wash-day and conserving water—as this ahead-of-its-time front-loading Laundromat promised—endure [next Monday is World Water Day]. Perhaps the little tunesmith depicted above was singing a song for a better future.

Or perhaps not. KBCULTURE readers, you are invited to compose not just your thoughts on this matter, but a stanza or two of laundry-lyrics.

Pattern & Profile

A chiseled wedge form lends a contemporary dimension to these marble mosaics, while the rampant veining in rich green and brown tones give the Wave tiles an abstract expressionist quality. Is it a case of nature as art, or art in nature? nemotile.com

We Interupt This Blog...

...to call your attention to a new feature at KBCULTURE. In the column to the right, just below the Topics list, you'll find a new Search function. Happy hunting!

There's No Place Like Home

Or, in Gaelic, Níl aon tintéan mar do thintéan féin. With this undated view of a rural Irish kitchen, KBCULTURE tips its hat to my ancestral home.

High [Design] Chair

I'm a long-time fan of Thonet seating; every now and then, I get lucky on Ebay and add another curvaceous classic to my collection. Founded in 1819, the company seems bent [sorry!] on building on its heritage, enlisting contemporary designers to develop new collections.In 2009, Stefan Diez created the 404H stool, a piece that I think holds the promise of enduring appeal. thonet.de

Spring, Forward

While we clear away the damage and debris of a ferocious nor'easter, I am all for looking ahead to a season—personal, as well as calendrical—of newness. In this kitchen, antique elements meet a modern sense of proportion and composition with confidence. It's all the aesthetic justification I need for optimism. b-arch.it

They're Baaack...

It's Flashback Friday, and look who's come all the way from 1966 to visit KBCULTURE: the Frigidaire Space Ladies. [Don't be alarmed, but they have multiplied since they last descended upon us.] Their silvery, Courreges-inspired dresses set off the Biscayne Blue and the Tahitian Green fridges so well. I wonder what stylish turns their wardrobe would take if they were to pose with today's stainless steel appliances—talk about color, color, color!

Sweet Spot

While I'm not a devotee of all things pink, I can't deny that the color gives the Mimo sink a personality it otherwise lacks. It's fun without being silly, and provides a welcome change from the typical chrome drain cover. laufen.com

Angular Elevation

Although basically rectangular, the vertical and horizontal orientation of the Waterblade's spout and handle elements give the faucet a jaunty, architectural character; they're like little chrome building blocks. There are additional components to the line—a shelf, cup holder, and the like—that can further enliven the bathroom landscape. ritmonio.it


This view of the Tamina Therme spa in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland is so uplifting for me; I'm posting it simply for inspirational purposes. The quirky mix of modern and historical design ingredients gives the space a cool freshness; the light is clear and the water—ice blue, but its source is a hot spring—is calming.

The architects of the space are Smolenicky and Partner, whose website seems disabled.

New Dimension

These contoured drawer fronts have me thinking of cupped shingles siding an old house, or the curled pages of a well-worn book. The oak's grain pattern, spreading across one drawer to another, is also a focus for contemplation. Perhaps this is why designer Soren Rose calls this cabinet 'Reflect'. cphsquare.dk

Plumbing Propaganda

This 1951 ad takes a moderated view of the collision between established values and incoming ideals in post-war America. The innovative, highly-molded sink—the focal point of the room—physically stands out from the flat planes of the walls, windows, countertop and tailored steel cabinets. The adventurous color scheme provocatively pits an unorthodox palette of dark and light hues against each other. The sink features 'Dial-ese' controls, where a mere quarter-turn of the handle started or stopped the flow of water. As illustrated, the new, modern style posed no threat to the domestic bliss symbolized by the cookie jar and the garden; in fact, it virtually promised the two worlds could seamlessly co-exist.

Renowned industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss created much of the Crane bath and kitchen products. In production from the 1920s to the 1980s, the company pioneered the use of color in fixtures.

Rocking the Boat

It seems to me that a lot of wooden bathtub designs are a visual riff on a culturally classic form [ofuro, anyone?], or a 'playful' variant of a dinghy. I like the Day tub because it doesn't follow those conventions; it is subdued, modern and original. plavisdesign.it

Extra Effort

Working a design detail just a little further than necessary rewards both user and creator. Here, magnetizing a simple knife-holder so the blades stand on edge takes a common cabinet insert to a new level of functionality. eggersmann.de

Dual Force

Range hoods always present an opportunity to do something bold in kitchen design, whether it's through introducing a contrasting color, unusual form or a change-up in material to the space. This installation impresses me with an unexpected possibility—that of scale. In a large room without competing wall cabinets, it's reason enough to do a double-take. schiffini.it

Efficiency Unit

The back-to-back configuration of the Showerbasin occupies a neat 1600mm x 830mm footprint [that's 63 inches x 33 inches, give or take a smidge]. Features not evident in the photo include a defogger and light for the mirror. A space-saving design in principle, I think in practice its success would be somewhat dependent on the location of that third necessity in the bath: the commode. roca.com