30 April 2010

The Royal Treatment

'There just isn't any frost to defrost.' You can't communicate any clearer than that quote from a three-page ad touting Frigidaire's 1959 fridge. Read further, though, and things take a little turn for the unusual. For instance, describing the door shelving we're told, 'No groping. No exploring. Snacks, milk, pickles, and cold cuts are instantly yours.' Hmmm—if not 'yours', whose, I wonder?

On the final page, shown above, we learn that a filigree-like pattern printed on the doors ['new Lacework Styling, yours in a choice of six* colors'] makes this appliance 'the most feminine refrigerator ever.' To this point, the model's imperial headgear would support that notion, too.

*In case you're curious: Turquoise, Charcoal Gray, Mayfair Pink, Sunny Yellow, Aztec Copper and Snowcrest White.

29 April 2010

April Showers, Part 3

Did you know that the word squeegee can be traced back to the 19th century verb squeege, which meant 'to press'? Why this striking shower enclosure should trigger that thought, I can only guess. The design is simplicity itself—three glass panels hinged together, to fold open or closed as the bather chooses. samo.it

28 April 2010

Off-Kilter Kitchen

Once again, I've got to hand it to my subconscious: The focus of the past few days on lopsided designs has been strictly inadvertent. But it's been fun, so let's continue to mine that vein with these appealingly primitive cabinets and worktables. The Mint collection doesn't look like it would withstand the demands of a busy kitchen, but as a starter set, it would be fine. Cooking is, after all, an out-of-the-box endeavor. rauzas.com

27 April 2010

Artfully Composed

The Tara series of fittings is known for its precise proportions. I find this image of the latest addition to the collection—a three-hole, wall-mount faucet—most enjoyably off-center. Tweaking the installation by setting both handles off to one side demonstrates that there is indeed order in disorder. dornbracht.com

26 April 2010

Ooh La La!

Even though I'm a cooktop-and-wall-oven kind of gal, come our next kitchen remodel I'd happily—even ecstatically—change my ways for this knock-out of a range. Christened 'Inspired by Marcus' [the Marcus in question being Chef Samuelsson], the 36-inch model can accommodate a griddle, charbroiler, or a 12-inch French top [Yes! I mean Oui!]. Also French are the doors, which dictate a radical new look for the appliance; to me, it's simultaneously revolutionary and restrained. This color is called Infused Copper; there are five other hues from which to choose. It's a culinary collectible, too, with only 200 of these beauties to be fabricated this year. bluestarcooking.com

23 April 2010

Dinner Time [Warp]

Dinner [and a tasty looking meal it is] is almost on the table. So why are Pop and the kids messing around outside in the rain? Some things haven't changed since 1959, I see.

But the Missus doesn't seem perturbed about her MIA family at all. She has her mind on other things—like snagging an extra baked potato for herself, maybe. I do hope she remembers to switch that pot holder to her right hand, which appears poised to pull the roast out of the oven. The impossibly spotless oven.

This 'Keyboard Range' was made in a size that by today's standards is an oddity: 40 inches. Although there was obviously room for them, adding two more burners to the appliance was an option never acted upon. Curious.

22 April 2010

Balancing Act

It could be said that the Kult vanity certainly has a leg up on the competition when it comes to its own style. [Should it have been said is another issue altogether.] The piece is pretty much a one-liner. Asymmetry is a noble design goal, but tricky to achieve. Perhaps without the distraction of the rococo mirror [and the heinous faucet] the cabinet's redeeming qualities could be better appreciated. lacev-mobilacev.it

21 April 2010

A Treat for the Eyes

The comparison to lollipops may not be logical, but it is irresistible. I see grape, blueberry and lime in these glass tiles. A bit childish, sure, but there you have it. cottoveneto.it

20 April 2010

April Showers, Part 2

A contemporary classic, this. Designed in 1998 by Benedini Associates, the Chiocciola ["scroll"] shower allows for the bather to take a little stroll into the stall proper. Much more civilized, I think, than stepping directly into the stream—a rude awakening, indeed. agapedesign.it

19 April 2010

Set in Stone

Digitized photos printed on laminate and metal surfaces aren't new, but images integral to concrete? That's a very different—and fascinating—story. Customized aggregate blends and special pouring and curing processes yield these permanent pictures. heringinternational.com

16 April 2010

Mirror, Mirror

Once upon a time I collaborated on a book about mosaic artworks with JoAnn Locktov, putting some words to pictures. One of the artists featured was the late Niki de Saint Phalle, a colleague of Jean Tinguely, Marcel Duchamp and Salvador Dali. Her home and garden in Italy is an intensely personal expression, begun in 1980. Here is her kitchen vision. nikidesaintphalle.com

15 April 2010

We Interupt This Blog...

...to let you know that I am on my way to Chicago, to walk the cold, hard corridors of the McCormick Center as I attend the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in editorial pursuit of the latest and greatest products [as they may be, in these Great Recession-tempered times]. Beginning tomorrow, I shall leave you with a couple of artistic visions of the kitchen; enjoy, as reality can be harsh and disappointing.

14 April 2010

Fluid Beauty

Waxing poetic about the Hedo faucet would be superfluous. It's simply elegant. rubinetterie3m.it

13 April 2010

Two Hot

Oh, I like this a lot. Two induction zones at the front of the cooktop, a trio of gas burners at the rear—such a great way to reap the indisputable benefits of induction cooking without giving up the open flame. I came across this inventive appliance on KitchenAid's UK website; let's hope that it makes the crossing to the States one of these days. kitchenaid.co.uk

12 April 2010

Counter Claimed

The Tuga basin and vanity is perfect for those who just can't have enough counter space in the bath. Pushing the sink physically off the side of the cabinet is a slightly hilarious solution to the problem of how to keep all those daily grooming essentials within reach. www2.antoniolupi.it

09 April 2010

Domestic Disturbing

The tour de force visuals of this ad amaze and confound me; how could such a turbulent scene sell refrigerators? The cabinets are crawling with Pennsylvania Dutch pictorials. The Technicolor array of foodstuffs in the fridge is intimidating. Sweet as she seems, the expression on the little girl's face suggests a sugar high. The dog looks like he's about to shift into hyper mode.

I'm going to have dreams about this one, I'm afraid.

08 April 2010

April Showers

Cue the chirping birds...It's that time of year when a certain climatic condition portends floral abundance in the near future. In celebration, throughout this month I'll feature a series of April Showers.

A more theatrical fixture you'd be hard pressed to find. This in-the-round design [it's called Piatto] seems tailor-made for dramatic entrances. A magnetic tape in the hem of the curtain clings to the enameled-steel base, preventing any accidental splashes. kaldewei.us

07 April 2010

A Good Hang Up

The modular cabinets of the Systematica kitchen can be adjusted up or down, in response to your height and the function of the components. They are supported by a freestanding framework, which itself can be sized and positioned to fit virtually any space. Flexibility, portability and style—quite an appealing package. oikoscucine.it

06 April 2010


It's what you don't see that makes an otherwise innocuous sink an aesthetic standout. That ugly, grime-grabbing ring around the drain opening is gone, vanquished by a seamless design that yes, does accommodate food-disposer installations. A manufacturing challenge, to be sure, but one I believe has been very well met. seamlesssink.com

05 April 2010

We Interupt This Blog...

...to let you know that today is Judgment Day at KBCULTURE. Nothing dire, quite the contrary: We are evaluating entries to the KBCULTURE Awards, a program that recognizes excellence in aesthetic design and technological innovation across all categories of kitchen and bath products. As editor of Kitchens & Baths magazine, I created a similar competition and staged it for six years. For a confirmed K/B geek like myself, the judging is an invigorating experience as not only does it provide an in-depth look at individual products, but also a broader survey of the directions the industry is taking.

We'll keep you posted.

02 April 2010

Psycho Cooler, Qu'est Que C'est

Psychologists could have a field day interpreting this bizarre image; at KBCULTURE, we're just looking for a little fun to close out the week. The fridge is literally on the lady's mind; perhaps she is an appliance empath of sorts, able to divine the true and ultimate functions of a modern refrigerator. The 1951 Philco Duplex did offer automatic defrosting that worked so quickly that 'frozen foods stay frozen'. Wow.

01 April 2010

Cover Up

The Khroma commode could almost pass for a chair, thanks to its enlightened design. The swoop of color unifies the seat and the back, minimizing the presence of the tank in the process. The skirted base also camouflages typical toilet-y details. It's rather curious to me that this approach hasn't been more widely explored. roca.com