30 April 2013

Making a Splash

A spring palette if ever there was one, these high gloss tiles used as a free-spirited wainscotting put me in a bit of a celebratory mood. For his 'Mediterraneo' collection, designer Davide Pizzigoni has created eight color combinations, from a subdued tangerine/cocoa to a fizzy lime/aqua pairing. bardelli.it

29 April 2013

Brick House

As I'm off to Coverings, a trade show focused on all things tile and stone, this kitchen—a mason's dream or nightmare, I'm not sure which—seems an appropriate post. Dating from the 11th century, Astley Castle seemed bound for the wrecking ball after a fire left the building in ruins. Witherford Watson Mann Architects won a competition to restore the property; their design solution was a deft mix of the modern with the medieval. Today, it's possible to stay overnight in the historic residence. landmarktrust.org.uk

26 April 2013

Earth Week, Day 5

We'll conclude our Earth Week observance with an optimistic view from 1968, the beginning of what was then vaguely known as the 'ecology movement'. While this ad wasn't exactly conservation-oriented, it did address a form of pollution: indoor air quality. Promoting a self-ventilating toilet with a bowl-full of daisies was certainly an inspired use of the Flower Power bandwagon.

25 April 2013

Earth Week, Day 4

The contrast between the rough exterior and the smooth interior of the Frosting sink is a tactile tour de force, but I'm focusing on the pleasingly ragged edge that demarcates the two materials. To each his own. A section of natural teak root has been coated—frosted, if you will—with a thin acrylic surface. Introduced at the last Maison & Objet fair, it unites the manmade and the natural. sda-decoration.com

24 April 2013

Earth Week, Day 3

I'm struck by the paradox of this mosaic work; a permanent, rock-hard material depicting a fragile, evanescent subject. If only it were possible to preserve the natural world as effectively as this installation does.... cherylhazenmosaic.com

23 April 2013

Earth Week, Day 2

From Ingo Maurer's winged light fixtures to the amoebic architecture of Sir Peter Cook, designers regularly draw on nature as an inspiration for their work. There's something rewarding about incorporating the genuine article in projects, even at a very small scale. Used as a drain cover, this nautilus shell—just one of many similarly decorative options—brings the beauty of the sea into the home. linkasink.com

We Interrupt This Blog...

...to call your attention to the results of the 2013 KBCULTURE Awards. It's always a pleasure to review and recognize so many outstanding product designs.

22 April 2013

Earth Week

On a typical KBCULTURE Monday, I post a [hopefully] interesting kitchen. This being Earth Day, that kitchen is deconstructed, illustrating its sustainable parts and principles. Developed by the Finnish company Puustelli, the Miinus kitchen is slated for release later this year. Every decision regarding Miinus' design has been made with the environment foremost in mind. From VOC-free materials to a greenhouse cabinet to a carcasse that's 100% percent recyclable, the room has been totally reconceived. The project is, in my humble opinion, groundbreaking. puustellimiinus.com

19 April 2013

The Latest Amenities

With the housing market finally showing consistent positive movement, thoughts are turning toward home improvement projects. Apparently the situation was much the same in 1961, when this 'food center' emerged on the scene. It conveniently combined a mixer, blender, and knife sharpener in a station built into the counter. While I can't quite see the wisdom in situating it on a stubby, mid-room peninsula, there seemed to be little question of the appliance's appeal to prospective homeowners.

18 April 2013

Lights Spotted

Like a Cy Twombly drawing, this light fixture is deceptively simple, isn't it? Seen at last week's Euroluce show in Milan, Michael Anastassiades' String Light is elegantly minimal in the way its cord traces space. I'm fairly confident that this quasi-DIY design [you run the cables in a pattern of your own making] requires a steady hand at the very least. flos.com

17 April 2013

Bulbous Bath

I can guess what you're thinking: 'That's one tubby tub.' And so it is, designed by Marc Newson, whose affinity for pudgy forms is well-known and well-tempered. This is but one piece of a full suite of bath fixtures and fittings he's created for Australian company Caroma; I hope it eventually makes it stateside. caromamarcnewson.com

16 April 2013

Peaceful Pieces

The stories from Boston—a mix of the horrific and the heroic—have my mind on matters more serious than kitchens and baths. Their strong forms softened with plugs of moss and squares of glass, these tiles become small objects of contemplation. inax-usa.com

15 April 2013

Drawing on Experience

A cherished friend from Los Angeles was in town for an extended weekend of cultural immersion. Museums, the opera, and a selective tour of sites and buildings kept us hopping around NYC. Our guest being an architect, there was a significant amount of shop talk—and sketching—that took place, too. With its witty inclusion of blueprint symbols in its design, this kitchen [which, for the record, our visitor would be quick to dismiss] reminds inhabitants as well as viewers of the process behind the product.

12 April 2013

Cleaning Up

Here in the US, tax day is just around the corner. I think the Internal Revenue Service would definitely be interested in speaking to the owner of this Westinghouse washer; she might have a bit of explaining to do with regard to this unorthodox source of income. Money laundering, anyone?

A little perspective: Readers who are concerned with economics might be amused by the fact that one 2013 dollar has the same buying power as 13 cents did in 1963, the date of this ad.

11 April 2013

Sticky Situation

Designer Kiel Mead scavenges driftwood from the beaches of New York, then shapes, sands, and stains the pieces by hand, transforming the erstwhile flotsam into functional wall hooks. He offers them in a palette of ten vibrant colors, and sometimes adds a little touch of gold or silver leaf to the finish. kielmead.com

10 April 2013

Strata Symbol

I fear the long winter has taken a toll [temporarily, I hope!] on my perceptual abilities. Looking at this vanity, I see a stylized cross-section of the earth. The brown, bottom layers are the soil, the green-lacquered drawer represents grass, and the sink—you guessed it—reminds me of snow. It's going to take some time to thaw out my mind, I guess. sanijura.fr

09 April 2013

At Last!

It's 80 degrees and sunny.

Question: Why am I sitting at the computer?

Answer: I'm on my way outside now...

08 April 2013

Nuanced Neutrals

In this kitchen, the color palette may be on a tight rein, but the number of finishes and textures—slick polished concrete and its rough-edged, wood-formed variant; bleached, matte wood; glazed ceramic tile; high-gloss paint—keep the eye well occupied. The mind, too, particularly if you're at ease in a contemplative space. I appreciate how this project has me both chilling out and exercising my critical faculties. feildenfowles.co.uk

05 April 2013

Once-Future Shock

With iSaloni in mind, I thought this photo of the 1969 Kitchen Satellite would make for an appropriate Flashback Friday post. It's orange, it's plastic, it's bizarre—therefore it's got to be an Italian piece, right?

Well, no. Designer Luigi [née Lutz] Colani was actually born in Berlin, and he created this sphere-shaped pod for Poggenpohl. Everything—appliances, storage, equipment—was situated within an arm's reach of the pilot—oops, I mean the chef. A proponent of what he calls 'biodynamic' design, a conjoining of ergonomics, streamlining, and all forms roly-poly, Colani has a most impressive résumé in the automotive- and industrial-design worlds.

04 April 2013

Cross Cultural

Next week, Milan hosts the international design fair iSaloni. This faucet will put in an appearance there; it is called Himmapan. That's also the name of a forest central to Buddhist and Hindu literature which was home to fabulous creatures of hybrid appearance. Mixing characteristics of fish, fowl, and four-legged beings, these animals are widely depicted in Indian and Thai art, often displaying flowing feathers and tails.

Any similarity to this fitting is purely intentional. cotto.co.th

03 April 2013

Totally Pawsome

A significant shortcoming of KBCULTURE has been brought to my attention: the lack of cat-centric design. To appease the feline lords of the Internet, I present this bathroom that's been customized to accommodate their penchant for hiding, climbing, and spying. The Cats' House is a creation of Fauna + DeSign, a Japanese firm that focuses on architecture for animals. fauna.jp, catshouse.jp

02 April 2013

On the Hook

For the past few days I've been organizing the entries to this year's KBCULTURE Awards. Every submission—electronic and hard-copy—receives an ID code, is logged in by product category, and each is verified before the judging takes place. It's a methodical process.

Speaking of order....With a tug on the leather loop, this sturdy hanger extends from the wall when needed. I can see it equally at home in the bath or kitchen. manufactum.de

01 April 2013

Masterly Crafted

The wall in this kitchen's cooking alcove is enchantingly ambiguous; is it plaster or stone? A third possibility: metal? But this question becomes immaterial [sorry!] when the quality of the design and construction is examined. Looking at—scrutinizing, even—the details of the work by Wilfra, I'm really impressed. And I'm a pretty tough customer. wilfra.be