Pop Top Kitchen

While perhaps not technically an outdoor kitchen, this space, with its colossal skywindow and glass walls, offers much the same experience—minus the mosquitos. One nagging thought: Why a television would be so prominently plunked on the wall in a room that enjoys such a spectacular setting is beyond my mental reach.

Superior Simplicity

Like sand in your eye at the beach, so too can the looming lid of a barbecue grill destroy what should be a pleasant experience. A necessary cooking-equipmet ingredient, it is usually a gross intrusion on the visual composition of an outdoor kitchen. But here it's been deftly contained, and even incorporated into the design. christopheryatesdesign.com

Celebrating Summer

In an outpouring of unguarded optimism that's been sparked by a forecast stretch of weather that for this time of year is preternaturally perfect [i.e., 80ºF, 20% humidity, light breezes, sun], I'm spontaneously devoting this week's posts to outdoor kitchens.

On one level of a series of tiered decks, this basic setup has much to recommend it. It's above the fray of the swimming pool, convenient to the indoor kitchen and its amenities, and positioned to catch the prevailing winds, keeping smoke away. Fuel storage is neatly accomplished via built-in stainless steel drawers. austinlivesoutdoors.com

Cook, Out

As any designer will confirm, it's pretty hard to top Nature as a creative force. This outdoor kitchen tacitly acknowledges that fact, with its grill and sink contained in a modest concrete workbench. I wonder if some sort of shading structure could be included in the project—a tree would be the best solution, surely. konturarkitekter.dk

Conveniences Galore!

Life in 1958 was different. I guess if your kitchen had a Cuisine Centré instead of a sink you'd put on your pearls and whip up a strawberry dessert, too. The integral small-appliance hub simplified that process; today you'd have to haul out the blender and the mixer, make room for them on the cluttered the counter, and get to work. The fact that the sink—I mean, the Centré—merited a dedicated peninsula for its placement is proof of the esteem in which it was held [if not by the homeowner, at least by the manufacturer].

Duchamp, 2.0

Some may see a sleek ceramic sculpture, others might perceive a section of intestine. Personally, I'm undecided if the design intent of the WCA toilet is subtle or obvious. I do like it very much, though, for its bold appearance. sanindusa.pt

Passing [Through] Showers

At its essence, the shower experience comes down to a narrow routine: Enter booth, be drenched, exit booth. This floorplan escapes that monotony by creating a pathway rather than a cul-de-sac for the shower. Add to that its almost-outdoors ambiance, and I think we have a winner. lakeflato.com

Something Fishy

Observing fish drifting in a pond is a fine way to pass a lazy summer day. Barring an actual opportunity to do so [city life has a way of diluting such pastoral scenarios into virtual and/or vicarious experiences], contemplating these wall-bound koi will have to suffice. Using open-backed shelving lets the pattern—'Derwent', named after a doubtlessly bucolic location in west Cumbria—show through. In five colorways. osborneandlittle.com

Bright Idea

As I see it, this kitchen strikes just the right balance between light and dark. I don't mean the contrast between the cherry-wood cabinets and the white walls; it's the level of illumination that impresses me. I can imagine this Williamsburg kitchen being as evenly lit in the deep of winter as it is on this sunny July afternoon. plainenglishdesign.co.uk

Culinary Art

How did it happen that in 1968, when a bright Pop-art palette was the rage in the worlds of fashion and art that the best the appliance industry could muster was that regrettable 'rainbow' of almond, avocado, and harvest gold? I do recall the earth-tones trend, but if memory serves, that sprouted up a little later, in the early 1970s. In that case, I apologize to Tappan and its design team, as they were actually ahead of the times, color-wise.

Moving Minimalism

To appreciate the way this bath tap works, consider its name: Eclipse. Twisting the top polished steel disc shifts it slightly off the center axis; the water flows. Within the visual vocabulary of minimalism, static sculptural work often dominates; this kinetic fitting is all the more striking for breaking that unwritten rule. boffi.com

Wild Blue Yonder

With a silvery aluminum frame clad in luminous, translucent resin panels, the Azore offers an ethereal outdoor shower experience—and much more enjoyable than yesterday's deluge, I might add. The crisp design and high-tech materials bring polish to the poolside, but if you crave a slightly rustic look, maybe this design is more to your liking. oborain.com

It's Pouring Inside

As we confront another day of soaking rainstorms, the vantage point offered by the glass-bottomed Depth sink seems vaguely familiar. By tomorrow, it's conceivable that the toy-boat scenario depicted here could play out in full-scale, real-life...ship ahoy, indeed. lago.it

Calculated Imperfection

The stock in trade of London design firm Retrouvius is the use of recycled materials in unexpected ways. What distinguishes its work for me is the degree of craftsmanship in their projects. Eschewing the slap-dash aesthetic so popular in repurposed interiors, they carefully and respectfully integrate old with new, as the tile and millwork of this kitchen demonstrates. retrouvius.com

We Interrupt This Blog...

...to announce the results of the 2014 KBCULTURE Awards are now official. Of the many impressive products in this year's entry pool, these are the ones which passed the critical muster of the jury. From cabinets and cooking appliances to tubs and tile, enjoy perusing the honorees.

Around the World

We're wrapping up the week with a quick visit to the 1964 World's Fair, where Frigidaire constructed a series of global kitchens. In the video below, the good stuff starts happening at around the 4:46 mark. In short and hysterical order, our protagonist tours kitchens of the Mediterranean [5:49], the slightly ambiguous 'Exotic East', which I can't determine is either Turkey or India [7:30], then on to the Orient [9:00] and Spain [10:40], before returning to the USA [12:20]. It is particular amusing to watch the changes—continuity be damned—of wardrobe and music in the clip.

Ship-Shape Storage

No steerage quarters, here: This stateroom—I mean bathroom—is fitted with first-class storage inspired by classic steamer trunks. The vanity and dresser unit are wrapped in leather and appointed with riveted handles, allowing even land-lubbers passage to ocean-liner style. coleccionalexandra.com

Roughing It [Not Exactly]

Not as coddling as a caravan kitchen, more comfortable than squatting around a campfire, the no-frills Grub Hub Mesa does its job—and then some. Although not much to look at, there's an efficiency to this backpack design that must be admired. And it does remind me of how much we take the comforts of home for granted. grubhubusa.com

Check [Out] this Luggage

No worries about toiletries exceeding the three-ounce liquid limit here; this valise won't be going through NSA checkpoints any time soon. It's been grounded and re-purposed as a wall-mounted bathroom medicine cabinet.

Bon Voyage

Let the exodus of summer travelers begin! For my part, I'm spending summer—at least most of it—in the city. Designed by Bambi Sloan, this kitchen, with its exotic Moroccan lights and decor from Milanese artist Piero Fornasetti, both satisfies and piques my wanderlust. And so I invite armchair adventurers, staycationers, and inveterate globetrotters alike to follow KBCULTURE's vicarious vacation week.

See you tomorrow.

Design Independence, The Conclusion

The black and white garb worn by this assumed erstwhile jailbird is the height of fashion today, as it was, apparently, in 1950. The cause for her jubilation: the defrosting feature of the fridge. As one who many years ago took a cleaver to the icy innards of an old refrigerator—and, in the process, liberated the freon from its confining coils—I'd say that counts towards the pursuit of happiness.

A jubilant Fourth of July to you all, dear readers.

Design Independence, Day 4

It's safe to say that over the next few days—Hurricane Arthur notwithstanding—there will be millions of backyard and beach barbecues as we celebrate the Fourth of July. The purpose behind this inventive design is portability; the tripod stand, fuel 'cradle', and star-shaped grate all fold up into a neat package. The 'Grillo' is made of stainless steel. formaxiom.com

Design Independence, Day 3

This range is a fine example of freedom of expression, I'd say. The irony that the appliance is produced by a UK manufacturer is not lost on this Yankee. [No hard feelings!] That it conjures a mad display of pyrotechnics is OK, too. britannialiving.co.uk

Design Independence, Day 2

Its red, white, and blue palette and explosive pattern make the 'Big Bang' tile a natural fit for this week of patriotic posts. The near-psychedelic graphics may have the same retina-burning effect as fireworks, though, so I'd suggest limiting applications to a small backsplash. crinson.com