31 December 2013

Bottle Service

In honor of tonight's toasts to auld—and new—lang syne, here's a backsplash featuring designer Erin Adams' 'Bottles' mosaic rendered in moonstone, opal, and tourmaline glasses. She cites the natura morta ['still life'] paintings of Giorgio Morandi as an influence on the work; his bottles and vessels gently jostle each other, and the shadows they cast go in all directions. newravenna.com

And so cheers, prost, proost, cin cin, salud, santé to you all, dear readers. Thanks for your company this year and next.

30 December 2013

Party Place

I've never been one for the raucous, out-on-the-town type of New Year's Eve festivities. But I do appreciate a spirited get-together with friends at home. This forward-looking kitchen, with its theatrical, layered lighting and plenty of room for guests, strikes me as a fun spot for such celebrations. ashsak.com

27 December 2013

What Once Was Will Be Again

It's the final Flashback Friday of 2013, dear readers, and in a temporal juxtaposition befitting a New Year's Day hangover, we'll simultaneously look forward and back. In 1899, artist Jean-Marc Côté created fifty depictions of daily life in the year 2000. His take on the kitchen certainly foreshadows today's molecular gastronomy craze; the steampunkish 'appliances' look like they'd fit in at a hipster Williamsburg boîte.

If you're curious about the other facets of the future, you're in good company: no less a visionary than Isaac Asimov was captivated by them. In his book Futuredays, the science-fiction master muses on the entire set of Côté's illustrations, which in addition to the kitchen, include such now-realized technologies as wheeled houses, robotic floor cleaners, and variations on the computer, in addition to some questionably prescient pastimes as aerial tennis and deep-sea croquet.

26 December 2013

Silent Night [or Afternoon]

There's a stillness to this bath that I find irresistible in the midst of the holiday hubbub. But it's more than just a peaceful retreat; there's something to contemplate in the design. The location of the handshower is practical, but also unusual. Correction: It's artistic. Ordered and contained, the fittings underscore the size and the solid/void quality of the wall. Nice, nice job. costudio.be

25 December 2013

Deck the Walls

...or the halls. Whatever jingles your bell.

Merry Christmas, dear readers.

24 December 2013

Whirled Piece

The central island of the Prisma kitchen features a sliding, bridge-like counter. Located mid-span is a lazy Susan [Wince. The term is so wrong regarding this sophisticated design.] with a tablet connection; a spin lets cooks share the screen without covering the device in fingerprints. I applaud the subtlety—and the usefulness—of the detail. toncelli.it

23 December 2013

Christmas Present

Acres of uninterrupted concrete counters. A vista-framing window. And a fireplace? Someone must have been very good indeed to merit such a sugarplum of a kitchen. I like architect Arne Thorsrud's materials palette—heavy on the texture, but with a touch or two [glass and stainless] of slick surfaces. ram-arkitektur.no

20 December 2013

It's the Thought That Counts

In case you're still on the hunt for the perfect Christmas present, here's an item that doubtless topped the Must-Have List of 1959. Yes, it's a garbage disposer.

Warms your heart, doesn't it?

I have a feeling that the sprig of mistletoe 'she' is holding will be the first thing down the drain—unless you count their marriage.

19 December 2013

Wood You?

Look beyond the unfortunate styling that obscures more than it enhances, the regrettable open shelves, and the bad lighting—I know I'm asking a lot, here, but work with me—and focus on the wood used in this kitchen. The translucent grey/green stain on the wall paneling shows off the oak's grain, and is quite the unexpected contrast with the polished cherry base cabinet. It's a bold treatment that I can see applied to traditional or modern designs.

18 December 2013

Appliance Art

Today a new visitor's center opens at Stonehenge, just three days before various druids, revelers, and pagans converge on the site to celebrate the winter solstice. But there won't be any such gathering at the once venerable Fridgehenge, aka Stonefridge. Erected in 2003 outside Santa Fe, New Mexico by  artist/filmmaker Adam Horowitz and the Primordial Soup Company, its 100+ discarded coolers were configured into a satiric 'anti-monument' to consumerism. A well-crafted video tells the unlikely story of the installation.

17 December 2013

On/Off the Wall

There's no telling how Arne Jacobsen, designer of the iconic HV1 faucet, would react to this audacious installation of the fitting, but I love it. The ordinarily deck-mounted model has made the leap to the wall, and the spout is reversed so the water streams well into the sink. Danish artist Tenka Gammelgaard has a passion for dramatic black and white and a flair for the unorthodox; this is a detail from her home. vola.com

16 December 2013

Fire Power

It's cold enough to light up the fireplace today. While mine is in the usual living-room location, I can't help but speculate on such a feature in the kitchen. At counter height, it could easily be used for hearth cookery, a primitive pursuit I've long been interested in more for its arcane equipment than any hipster-chef neo-authenticity. In fact, it's just that anachronistic quality which draws me to this room, with its mix of modern and traditional design.

13 December 2013

Cool is the New Hot

'Tis the season for parties. Certainly the Wonderbar was the hit of many [?] an office holiday wing-ding back in 1952. Sheathed in fashionable Bakelite, with legs and casters optional, the portable fridge was designed by Donald Dailey. While small-scale refrigerators are commonplace today, I imagine that this essentially electrified cooler was the appliance equivalent of the newest X-Box.

[Here's an early Christmas present for you majapp trivia-masters: The name 'Servel' is a portmanteau, combining 'serve' and 'electrically.']

12 December 2013

One or the Other

The Unico tub/spray-shower has been on my radar for some time. Most interesting is how the conversion between those two functions is achieved. Panels covering the body jets are removed from the wall and placed across the top of the tub, creating a 'floor' that's perfectly positioned for the spa experience. rexadesign.it

11 December 2013

Smooth Move

Not quite a lever nor a knob, the handle of the Synergy faucet is nonetheless eminently graspable. A substantial pebble-like form made of pure white Corian, it fits the palm rather sensuously. I like the melding of organic shape with synthetic material—it's very contemporary. fir-italia.it

10 December 2013

Hamba Kakuhle, Tata

Sentenced to life in prison, Nelson Mandela arrived at Robben Island, seven miles off the coast of Cape Town, in 1964. Eighteen years later, Prisoner 46664 was moved to a series of mainland jails; Mandiba was freed in 1990. Today, Robben Island is a World Heritage Site, and former political prisoners lead tours of the facility. This is the kitchen. robben-island.org.za

09 December 2013

Icy Beauty

There's a white/grey glaze over the landscape this morning, as the first appreciable snowfall blew in overnight. It's much the same palette as in this serene space, which I'd have to put on my [nonexistent] Top-Ten Kitchens list. Even though the room is quite large, I detect a sense of intimacy at the island; a maximum of three people could pull up a chair there. josephdirand.com

06 December 2013

Get the Look?

Forever is a long time, Revco.

There's no disputing the claim that the look of this kitchen is as new now as it was in 1959. But what must be questioned is if this design is more novelty than quality. The two-tone cabinets were certainly ahead of the game, but I'm not sure if the same can be said for the refrigerators. Maybe if their proportions weren't so morgue-ish....

As long as we're on the subject of mortality—I can't let the oxymoron 'forever new' go unacknowledged. Let's have a round of applause for the intrepid copywriter who coupled permanence and change.

05 December 2013

Anuran Art

I think I might have some weird dreams tonight.

In Nancy Braithwaite's design, artist Robert Kuo's sculptures effect a reversal not only of scale, but of role as well—being scrutinized by enormous toads while bathing isn't exactly a prescription for a relaxed soak. But imagine the room without the amphibian accents, and you're left with a run-of-the-mill bath, albeit a nicely appointed one.

04 December 2013

Earth Works

It's quilt season. While my personal textile tastes run towards the rural/jazzy work of the Gee's Bend collective, when it comes to hard surfaces, I can appreciate the more ethnic/graphic treatment of these ceramic tiles. This pavonine patchwork gives just a taste of the Chateaux collection's 22 color and pattern combinations. winchestertiles.com

03 December 2013

High and Dry

I was enlightened [ahem] to learn that the original purpose of the perforations which are the hallmark of a brogue shoe was to drain water out of the footwear while trudging through boggy terrain. In the Brogue light fixture, laser-cut piercings let pin-points of light shine through the leather shade. danielschofield.co.uk

02 December 2013

Galley Slaves

It is conceivable that after last week's festivities, one could be excused for not immediately wanting to look at a kitchen of any shape, size, or color. But here we are, moths gathered around the flame.

In truth, this isn't so much a kitchen as it is a sweet piece of art direction. The most basic cabinets and counters have been intriguingly accessorized. Such eclecticism is capped off by the portrait of a chef, conspicuously implying that a culinary talent is in residence. chelseahing.com.au