31 May 2013

Keep the Home Fires Burning...

...But not literally, if you please. It's a springtime inferno here, with temps breaking the 90ºF barrier for three straight days. There might as well be a Sofono Open Fire Cooker in the kitchen, hearth blazing away. I see the color choices for the appliance include an appealing Ivory Mottle—sounds appropriate for 1956. I'd like to propose a slight revision of the stylish lady's comment: "This is the cooker with a difference—it gives you carbon monoxide poisoning!"

30 May 2013

Up and Away We Go

I'm off—almost—to share my thoughts on LivingKitchen 2013 with some members of New York's most esteemed designer community. This mural, by provocateur street artist Banksy, reminds me not to get too carried away by the process.

29 May 2013

It's Coming Together

Twenty-four hours to go before showtime. Still shuffling images and rewriting notes, I endeavor to make my presentation on developments in kitchen and appliance design as logically composed as the QuadTwo vanity. Wish me luck! boffi.com

28 May 2013

Bucket Listed

I could see this sink—it is a sink, for the bathroom—in one of two ways. The blue interior and drips might indicate a slightly messy painter at work. Or, in an interpretation that closely parallels the current state of today's weather, it's a bailing bucket that's overflowing with rainwater. Sigh. Whatever your view, the basin is available in several decors and as a wall-mount or vessel-style. scarabeoceramica.com

27 May 2013

Get Out

I'm taking it easy today.... Happy Memorial Day from KBCULTURE. lakeflato.com

24 May 2013

Anchors [Gone] Away

It's Memorial Day weekend in NYC, and for the first time in my memory, the streets are empty of sailors on shore leave; thanks to the sequester-mandated budget cuts, Fleet Week has been canceled. During WW2, though, no expense was spared to supply submarine crews with the best food the Navy could muster. It looks like dinner is about to be served from the cramped galley of the USS Cuttlefish, which saw service in the Pacific. With roasted turkey on the menu, it's likely the boat was recently out of port; at the end of a tour, with supplies depleted, meals tended to be more modest. Feeding its 55 men was a round-the-clock affair, with the crew eating in shifts; this young cook had to be both imaginative and efficient in his kitchen.

23 May 2013

Unusual Optics

If one were to inquire of this mirror on the wall about who's fairest, I wouldn't be surprised to receive an impertinent reply, befitting its in-your-face design. The hemispherical light that's set into the larger looking glass is a nice touch; it gives both mood- and task-lighting to the bath. preciousmcbane.com

22 May 2013

Bubbling Over

My apologies for the lackluster image; a fridge is a fridge is a fridge, at least in terms of cabinet design. But happily, appearances can be deceiving. What's quite special about this appliance is its ability to deliver sparkling water on demand. There's a SodaStream CO2 cartridge built into the door that infuses your choice of three degrees of fizz into a chilled, filtered drink. With summer just around the bend, that's a refreshing option, indeed. samsung.com

21 May 2013

All Squared Up

A common gripe I hear about handshowers is hardware related: there's too many pieces in the typical system, resulting in a shower enclosure that's cluttered with plumbing components. The Hydrati neatens things up with a wand that slides into the showerhead, instead of docking separately on the wall. brizo.com

We Interrupt This Blog...

...to let you know that the New York City chapter of IFDA has graciously invited me to share my experiences and observations on LivingKitchen, the epic industry show which I attended in Cologne earlier this year. Date: Thursday, 30 May; a reception at 5:30 kicks things off, with the presentation beginning at 7:00. Place: The Grohe Live Center, 160 Fifth Avenue [between 20 and 21 streets], New York City. For more information, click here.

If you're in the neighborhood, I'd love to see you there!

20 May 2013

Unique Vision

I'm decompressing after a four-day-and-night immersion in creativity at #ICFF, #WantedDesign, and the showrooms at the A&D building and in SoHo. [I've documented a snippet of the panoply of color, texture, and form in videos on my Twitter feed, @kbculture, should you care to take a look.] This kitchen, a space of stillness and distinction, is a fine tonic to the recent hubbub. There's something about the pull between the empty, open height of the room and the dense materiality of the burl and marble island that brings me back to earth—aesthetically speaking. roseuniacke.com

17 May 2013

Gabba Gabba Hey!

If you've never had the pleasure of seeing a genuine New York City kitchen, behold. Four-burner mini stove [the oven is customarily used for storage], 12-cubic-foot fridge [needs defrosting], litter box for illegal feline tenant. Chances are good that this one is unchanged from 1982, not only because of lax landlords, but because of historic reasons: The tenant was one Joey Ramone. While I haven't yet seen the show, the punk-fashion exhibit at the Met is a puzzle to me; it seems to bestow belated credibility to a movement that avoided such status at all costs.

This Sunday, Joey née Jeffry Hyman would be 62 years old. Punk lives!

16 May 2013

Taking Flight

Design shows can be a fairly intense experience for me; with hundreds of objects to assess, visual overload is an occupational hazard. So with New York Design Week kicking off in a couple days, I've used this week's posts as an opportunity to inoculate myself, if you will, by highlighting some examples of heartfelt design that are best appreciated far from the madding crowd.

Joshua Bishop took ink-pen to wood in this delicate composition. The 'canvas' panel is maple, framed by cherry rails and stiles. I like how the wood grain acts as an abstract element in the drawing. woodmanseewoodwrights.com

15 May 2013

Masterly Crafted

Extraordinary. Carved, pegged, and joined entirely by hand, it's no understatement to call this kitchen island the stuff of dreams. The curvaceous design capitalizes on the unusual figuring of Pippy English Oak; the carcass is made of aromatic cedar. A smooth slab of light-reflecting, bacteria-resistant sycamore is used for the counter surface; just looking at this photo, I can almost feel the flow of the wood beneath my hands. carvedwood.co.uk

14 May 2013

Go Configure

Speaking of design fairs... Poyke made its appearance at the Belgrade furniture show last year. It can be what you want it to be—a small bench, a table flanked by seating, three stools—by virtue of its adjustable nature. Clamps and threaded rods can be slid along the steel rail and secured in place to suit the needs of the user. Sweet! Creators Nataša Vukosavljević and Nebojša Gornjak collaborate on all sorts of interesting pieces. yondermagnetik.com

13 May 2013

Material Mélange

The design-show season rages on. At the end of this week, I'll be checking out ICFF and WantedDesign; particularly at the latter venue, I'm expecting to see lots of hand-worked items, similar in spirit to this kitchen by Retrouvius. Devotees of reclaimed materials, they have a keen eye for texture, finish, and composition. I'm fascinated by the patterns in this room. retrouvius.com

10 May 2013

Happy Mother's Day! From Science, with Love.

This Sunday, mothers everywhere will put their feet up [a small luxury that unfortunately eluded the woman in this 1949 ad] and enjoy a day of celebration, if not relaxation. Perhaps grab a bit of quiet time with a book, as our as hostess is doing? [Surely she reading the appliance-revisionist story of 'Suds-Miser and the Seven Rinses', a tale hyperbolically spun by Whirlpool.] And I am certainly curious about locating the 'wonder-working' washer in the living room; what kind of maternal instinct motivated that decision?

KBCULTURE wishes all mothers—new, grand, single, in-law, and otherwise—a most splendid day.

09 May 2013

Forthright Faucet

The height of the cross-handles as it relates to that of the spout—that's what I first noticed about this faucet. There's a directness to the design of the Lollipop [yes, I know] that I find immensely appealing. franzviegener.us

08 May 2013

Future [Shock] Food

From the 'Incredible or Insane? You Decide!' files: This simulated cooking experience instructs budding chefs on the fine points of sautéing—sans actual food. Sensors calculate the moisture content of the faux meat and veggies as they're 'heated'; the resultant changes in virtual weight and texture dictate the physical experience of holding the pan. All this raises a question for me: Will such technology eventually find its way into the home kitchen? I see no reason why it shouldn't, for better or worse.

07 May 2013

Neat Solution

In too many bathrooms, a motley assortment of toiletries overwhelms any aesthetic sensibility that may lurk beneath the bottles and brushes that are central to the grooming routine. This sink/storage suite, called Ukiyo-E, makes a valiant attempt to impose order through design on such cosmetic clutter. A ceramic tray under the basin invites objects to be placed upon it; a soap dish is perched on the rim of the sink, and a modern pegboard houses bins and shelves to hold small items. olympiaceramica.it

06 May 2013

Throwing a Curve

Let's start the week off with this interesting take on a peninsula. Neither long nor orthogonal, the wooden element defines a spot that's both in and of the kitchen in a way that I find quite appealing. But should you be in need of an extra stretch of space, never fear: the silver rectangle on the end of the white work surface marks a pull-out section of counter. elmarcucine.com

03 May 2013

Out! With the Old!

I love the pose of the woman as she is 'saving garbage': face turned away, eyes closed, she conveys the odiousness of the chore [it looks like she's wrapping a chicken carcass in newspaper; pre-Hefty Bag days, they were] so convincingly. It's a bit surprising to me that in 1937—on the heels of the Great Depression—people were being encouraged to throw out table scraps, rather than consume them. But that's progress, I guess. To quote GE: 'These drudgeries have no place in today's home.'

02 May 2013

Stringy Theory

What good is a standard-length towel bar when you have a non-standard-sized space? Exactly. And therein lies the appeal of this design, in which a rope is looped around wall pegs and held taut with a simple weight. hiroomitahara.com

01 May 2013

Stilled Water

We all have our quirks.

Drawing a bath is one of the reasons I'm a shower person. To be honest, the sound of the water gushing into the tub is something I've always found rather grating. This base-inlet filler would change that. In an action that's more like a spring than a waterfall, water streams into the bottom of the tub from a ring of outlets around the drain at a rate of 30 liters per minute. As you might expect, it's much quieter than a conventional, spout-style tub filler; at 9 decibels compared to 21 decibels, my issue with noise may have been silenced. bette.de