30 April 2015

Sweet Suite

Kelly Hoppen may cite origami as the inspiration for this bath collection, but I beg to differ. It's obviously something far less arty: Cupcakes! The crisply fluted tub and pedestal sink are clearly derived from everybody's favorite bakery treat. [Don't worry, Kelly—your secret is safe with KBCULTURE.] apaiser.com

29 April 2015

A Loss + An Appreciation

It's hard to imagine a profession more gratifying—and more grueling—than design. For all the momentary joy of fraternizing with peers at conferences or the glamorous roll-out of a new product at trade shows, there are countless meetings, number-crunchings, and other similarly soul-crushing occupational hazards that can dampen one's enthusiasm for the job. Designers work as much for The Man as the muse, and staying motivated and creative takes a major amount of energy and discipline.

I'm remembering Andy Wells, vice president of design and trends for MasterBrand cabinets, as a person who was able to see the business of design as an adventure, and he welcomed any and all to join him in the process. His charming and incisive observations—quintessentially British—made every encounter I had with him memorable. Today, he is missed by many.

28 April 2015

Cool + Collective

As yesterday's peace-out post seemed to work, smoothing the way through a potentially bumpy day, I'll try the same superstition strategy again today. This bathroom offers tranquility through its single color, yet avoids monotony via a variety of materials and surface treatments. stevenvandooren.be

27 April 2015

Calming Before the Storm

It's going to be a very busy week. [Make that weeks.] For me, that means it's a good idea to clear the mental decks as much as possible before wading into the thick of things. This minimalist kitchen, slipped almost surreptitiously into a larger, softly lit space, is a gentle, grounding beginning to the hectic days ahead. a-dn.be

24 April 2015

Better Late Than Never

By the time this ad was published in 1977, Earth Day had been observed for seven years. Environmental awareness might have been a little slow in coming to the appliance industry, but it made an effort, enlisting no less a force than performer Pearl Bailey, the Ambassador of Love. Pearl's full-throated declaration of this washer's water-saving superiority, scripted though it was, helped raise the ecological consciousness of a generation.

23 April 2015

In the Bud

With the advent of Earth Week, the first convincing signs of spring have appeared. Birds are nesting, cherry trees are in blossom, and the color green returns to the landscape palette—nature has at last begun its seasonal renewal. In due time, flowers will emerge, but until then, Tord Boontje's fanciful Primavera Colore ceramic tiles will suffice. bardelli.it

22 April 2015

Watts Up—Or Rather, Down

While Earth Day provides an eco-excuse to reduce electrical power consumption, I think the good looks of this oil lamp justifies its use on a more regular basis. Designed with technical input from Harnish, a gas-lamp manufacturer founded in 1842, the black-chromed fixture sheds a clear and kilowatt-free light. castordesign.ca

21 April 2015

Rock On

Two of the three Rs—reduce, reuse, recycle—apply to this simple stone sink. An antique, the shallow basin was simply drilled to fit modern plumbing. ancientsurfaces.com

20 April 2015

Logging In

Designed by Willi Bruckbauer, who's not just a master carpenter but also an engineering whiz for ventilation manufacturer Bora, this kitchen island kicks off Earth Week at KBCULTURE. The origins of the piece are clear: A mighty oak tree that's been partially milled to support a concrete work surface, complete with sink and cooktops. Especially in this era of virtual reality, it's all too easy to lose touch with the natural world; this piece is a striking reminder of its strength and beauty. werkhaus.cc

17 April 2015

Conveying a Concept

In 1955, a ball bearing producer released a series of ads that speculated about the kitchen ten years hence. It should come as no surprise that all of the imaginings turn, if you will, on the use of little steel spheres. In this scenario, meals roll out of a contraption that is equal parts refrigerator and oven, streamlining food prep and putting a whole new spin on appliances.

16 April 2015

Room for Reflection

In my experience, bathroom mirrors fall into one of two categories: ultra plain or overwrought. This refined design avoids those extremes. Mixing a dash of Danish modern with a soupçon of steampunk,  a pair of brass clamps holds the mirror off the wall, giving the normally flat plane a three-dimensional presence. kbhsnedkeri.dk

15 April 2015

Appliance as Art

The always-engaging process of food preparation is a favorite subject for artists. It's a topic familiar to all, and lends itself to limitless conceptual and occasionally functional interpretation. Offered in a limited edition, the Juice Wind Mill takes an ecological approach to producing the breakfast beverage, letting prevailing breezes power the squeezing. Standing just over thirteen feet tall, the three-piece ensemble was created by Dutch designer Frank Tjepkema. tjep.com

14 April 2015

A Breath of Fresh Air

The Nuage hood is truly a seamless design [an overused and abused phrase if there ever was one, but in this case, a literal truth]. It can be plastered, tiled, or painted to appear like it's peeling out of the wall, much like this sink variant. Designed by Fabrizio Crisa, the hood would be quite at home in an open-plan kitchen that is free of wall cabinets. elica.com

13 April 2015

A Little Sparkle

Here's a dreamy little number to ease the ache that is Monday. The drab, cabinet-free walls, the battered floor...and the gold-washed drawers. A calculated incongruity, of course, and one that might raise some socio-political hackles, but I look at it as a simple experiment in finishes and materials. It's another example of green-meets-glitter, a color combo that I see as successful, but with a bit of texture thrown into the mix. 'Tenement chic', anyone?

10 April 2015

Future Schlock

I'm afraid I can't attribute this bizarre image to a specific source; the fashions and the color of the appliances date it as being from the early 1960s. The blueprint-like flooring and floating cooktop suggest a dream kitchen in the literal sense. The ladies—mother and daughter, to be sure—are certainly enjoying their stroll through their not-yet-real room. Two particular aspects of this curious scenario catch my eye: the handbag conspicuously placed on the counter, and the uncanny resemblance of the older woman to the Queen Mother.

09 April 2015

Lemonade, Anyone?

The Play vanity takes the design obstacle posed by pipes in stride. With a detail that's sure to please plumbers, the 'missing' drawer also adds a bit of asymmetric panache to an otherwise ho-hum piece of furniture—without sacrificing storage capacity. royogroup.com

08 April 2015

Space Stretcher

Cutting board, colander, drain rack—there's lots of accessories offered for the kitchen sink. Why not a similar program in the more space-challenged bathroom? Because it's slatted, it's possible to run the water while this wooden tray is placed in the MEG 11 sink, providing a convenient place to set down toiletries. ceramicagalassia.com

07 April 2015

Aesthetic Equilibrium

The prominent X-bracing on these bath fixtures reminds me of campaign furniture—the portable chairs, desks, and tables used in 19th century military encampments often featured folding stands or legs. This design, by Norm Architects of Copenhagen, is much more expressive than their clunky historic counterparts; the balance of the vessels on their bases is solid, yet delicate. ex-t.com

06 April 2015

Monday Mélange

Here's a kitchen that's in keeping with my post-Peeps sugar high. An exceptional confection of soft hues, warm light, and a feel-good palette of recycled materials, this space can quickly be pegged as the work of Retrouvius. I'm a long-time fan of the firm's inventive approach to design; it is singular in both its artistry and its environmental ambitions. retrouvius.com

03 April 2015

Purple Hazy

Wrapping up this loosely Easter-themed week, I offer you a crocus-colored kitchen. The expansive cooktop/island—on legs, no less!—is especially advanced for 1959, even as the post-war designers were revisiting streamlined forms. A particularly wacky detail is the ceiling-mounted ventilation hood; installed improbably high above the burners, it's doubtful it would clear the air effectively. And how about the way the purple pales into lavender in the upper register of the room....

02 April 2015

Sunny Side Upward

Environmentally speaking, the optimal place to store eggs is in their nest. From a food safety point of view, fresh eggs go in the fridge, of course. To show off the art of the egg, this modest shelf does a nice job, its hand-carved contours a gentle complement to the perfection of the natural form. [Chocolate and marshmallow varieties might look tasty good, too, on its tiered surfaces.]

01 April 2015

A Place for Everything

I find the baby blue hue of this countertop storage unit too much at odds with its utilitarian nature, but that's just me; anyway, it's fine for the Easter season. A traditional kitchen accessory dating from the early 20th century—you can see a built-in variation of the piece, circa 1926, here—its metal bins acted as much as scoops as drawers, which came in handy in the days of the general store, when buying in bulk was the norm. ellaskitchencompany.com