29 August 2014

Wash Your Hands—Really

And a happy birthday to Michael Jackson. Sorry, Bendix—his glittery glove required dry cleaning, covered as it was with 1,200 hand-sewn, Swarovski-crystal lochrosens. But your point is made, submerging this delicate crocheted model into the turbulent water [The glove would hide the resultant wrinkly skin, I'm sure] to prove the cleaning power of the 1956 washer. The colorful Formica tops might have impressed the always fashion-forward King of Pop, too.

28 August 2014

Now and Zen

There's been some landscaping work going on at a neighbor's house this week; it's been a challenge to concentrate while the noisy, smelly, and dust-generating process of laying a large stone patio has been underway. This serene marble sink, called Kyoto and designed by Hikaru Mori, is the complete opposite of the chaotic scene next door. pibamarmi.it

27 August 2014

So Cool

On this happily-rare 90ºF day, let's take little break from reality and soak in the beauty of an art installation currently installed in a national park near Sancy, France. Part of the Arts-Nature annual show, 'Bridal Veil', by Louis Sicard, is a wooden aquaduct-like structure that meanders through the forest for more than 130 feet, releasing a shower-like curtain of water on visitors strolling along its length. If you're fortunate enough to be in the neighborhood, it's up until 28 September; I'll be cooling off vicariously—très triste! horizons-sancy.com

26 August 2014

Color Continuity

Let us now sing another chorus of the 'Why Didn't I Think of That?' blues. This inspired range hood installation succeeds on two counts: subtly unifying the cooking area with the cabinetry while giving ample opportunity to appreciate the slim, crisp lines of the Ghost vent. falmec.com

25 August 2014

Kitchen Incognito

Summer may be on the wane, but that's no cause to give up on the grill. As the Human Torch would say, 'Flame on!'

Screening out the less aesthetic elements of an outdoor kitchen seems like a good idea to me, and this slatted structure does a fine job of it. My one hesitation about this design is that the counter seating could stratify the experience; it sets up a rigid host/guest dynamic. I like alfresco cooking to be a more communal experience. communedesign.com

22 August 2014

The Life Aquatic

Thank you, Philco, for inviting us to plunge into the underwater world of your Automagic washer. [The Ice Bucket Challenge of 1958, perhaps?] The high-frequency washing action—calculated at 600 surging waves per minute—is depicted as a gentle function. But this 20-second video of the bladeless rubber agitator in motion certainly gives an impression that is not exactly congruent with the blissful, blue depths this svelte skin-diver is experiencing.

21 August 2014

Still, Water

It looks like I'm off on an aqueous tangent these days. Continuing that unintentional theme, this Aura tile has the coloration of a tropical lagoon, layers of blues and greens fused within the glass. Tranquility. annsacks.com

20 August 2014

See Shore

With a little imagination on my part, this bath translates into the day on the coast that has proved elusive this summer. The stone floor and backsplash stand in for riprap; driftwood is recalled by the distressed cabinetry. The mirror evokes a glassy-calm sea. And the delicate aqueous blue of the walls makes me think of the skies in Joel Meyerowitz' photos of the shore. briggsedwardsolomon.com

19 August 2014

The Right Light

With more presence than a simple pendant fixture and less overbearing than a chandelier, the Beam light can be aimed where illumination is needed. Designed by Johan Carpner, the painted-aluminum piece comes in red, black, and white. zerolighting.com

18 August 2014

Double Feature

Many dream of a walk-in closet for the master suite—but what about in the kitchen? Quite impressively, this set-up—essentially a visible pantry—combines two design elements into one. First, it gives a rather mundane space a true focal point. It could be argued that the sliding glass doors are unnecessary, but they serve to unify the end of the room. And the expansive, centralized storage is a winner by all accounts. decus.com.au

15 August 2014

What's New, Indeed

As GE again ponders selling off its appliance business, one of its ads from 1962 reminds us of the pivotal role of innovation and keeping up with—or ahead of—the interests of consumers. As this youngster symbolically pogo-ed his way into the future, who could have guessed he would encounter such marvels as induction cooking, sous vide, and quick-chill refrigerators? What lies ahead in appliance design is the stuff that occupies both artists and engineers.

14 August 2014

Tiny Kitchen, Big Idea

There will come a time—if it hasn't already arrived—when folks will wonder at the primitive controls once used on cooking appliances. [Whether that will be because cooking itself will be obsolete, I dare not contemplate.] Until that day, though, we can still appreciate the resourcefulness employed in this small-kitchen solution. Another victory for cooktop modules! holzrausch.de

13 August 2014

Behind the Surface

In this kitchen detail, there's a kind of upstairs/downstairs play of surfaces. Elegant marble clads the always-visible backsplash, while proletarian tile covers the wall inside the cabinets. New construction lacks a genuine history; through its use of material artifice, this design invents a scenario. blakeslondon.com

12 August 2014

Light Preserver

I think this light fixture designed by Philippe Starck has a life beyond its installation at one of his Mama Shelter hotels in France. Inflatable pool floats are threaded onto a tubular suspension light, creating a bright and funky fixture that would surprise any summer kitchen. Worry-worts, do not fear: a casing around the bulb keeps the plastic toys from melting.

11 August 2014

Room, for All

Kitchens can be remarkably responsive spaces. I don't mean in a physical sense—it's an intangible quality. They can be at once filled with memories, while also being a place of possibilities. Somehow, they accommodate a happy, buzzy crowd with the same ease and comfort as they do a single, sleepless, troubled visitor. Even a compact galley like this thoughtfully detailed one offers a refuge for the occupant. tfad.com.au

08 August 2014

But It's Very Clean...

Here's a look at the perfect kitchen—as envisioned by a sink manufacturer. Who needs appliances, anyway, when not only is the room endowed with a double-bowl/double-drainboard space-gobbler, but a special sit-down sink, as well? And on closer inspection, I see a chafing dish; in 1958, that should suffice for cooking meals.

An aside: Does anyone else think of that Carol Burnett skit—the 'Gone With the Wind' send-up with the draperies-as-dress—when looking at this ad? I notice there's more than a passing resemblance between this lady's skirt and the kitchen's curtains....

07 August 2014

Plain and Fancy

I shall hazard a guess that the intent behind displaying the Open kitchen in such an ornate setting is to call attention to its minimalist forms. Even if it were not standing in some curiously gothic chicken coop, though, Piero Lissoni's stainless steel modular design would still impress. boffi.com

06 August 2014

A Spatial Case

I love how the architect has taken advantage of the unusual—some might even say awkward—volumes in this bathroom. A sunken tub and soaring ceiling lead to the illusion of a too-low showerhead. Adding to the ambiguity are the high/low windows and the two-tone tile treatment. robkennon.com

05 August 2014

Forecast: Shower

It's understandable to mistake the Closer showerhead for one of those so-in-vogue light fixtures by Lindsey Adelman or Jean Prouvé. Designed by Diego Grandi, it adjusts in much the same way, its arm and conical spray head pivoting and swiveling freely, to aim the water stream in a pleasing manner. I think the fitting's vaguely mid-century appearance would be especially eye-catching in a classic white-tiled bathroom. zucchettikos.com

04 August 2014

Culinary Cruising

While Ibiza-types might be inclined towards a kitchen with more yachty overtones, the skiff-like qualities of this casual space will also appeal to those of a nautical bent. The prow-shaped peninsula, topped with a varnished wood 'deck', instantly signals its design course, and the glossy paint on the ceiling reminds me of the reflective surface of a quiet lake.

01 August 2014

The Cold Facts

No outdoor kitchen for this Flashback Friday, I'm afraid. It's curious: Civilization labored thousands of years to move beyond the cave and the hut, only to forsake the technocratic kitchen to cook outside over open flames. Go figure.

But one advancement we haven't retreated on is refrigeration. In 1936, Westinghouse oversaw the advent of the Eject-O-Cube Tray, which sounds a lot more exciting than the 'automatic ice maker' of today. I think I'll put the E-O-C on my flea market watch list; hopefully, finding one, I'll be able to share in the chilling experience of nearly 80 years ago.