30 December 2016

Save the Date

That day, should you need reminding, is 20 January 2017. The true identity of the owner, however, is TBD; perhaps a congressional investigation will shed some light on that.

The last line of this 1954 ad is particularly, presciently chilling: Why not see your nearest President retailer today....

2016 KBCULTURE Awards

For anyone who's laboring with 2016 as an annus horribilis, here's a tonic: The winners of this year's KBCULTURE Awards have been announced!

20 April 2016

A Fitting Remembrance

In the shadow of its designer's death, the Vitae faucet, by Zaha Hadid, made a melancholy debut at last week's i Salone. Unlike her previous fitting, which emphasized an exuberant swooping line, this lav set is more focused on mass. The shell-like form nestles comfortably in the palm. noken.com

18 April 2016

Serene + Spirited

I'm not ready for Monday. The quick ramp-up to work and the resumption of routine comes all too soon. This kitchen, with the visual jumble of appliances skillfully concealed behind the wall panels, is the kind of room that could ease the harsh transition from weekend to weekday. liebkeprojects.com.au

14 April 2016

The Right Light

Not everything shown at iSalone is flamboyant, striving design. Case in point: Shine, the understated yet elegant towel bar/light/grab bar by Monica Graffeo. The light can be focused in different directions without compromising the gripability or strength of the installation. This accessory is universal design in the truest sense of the word. everlifedesign.it

13 April 2016

Japan, Via Milan

Designer Stefano Cavazzana cites the bento box as inspiration for his new Oblon bathroom fixtures. Similar to the bento's functional form, the interchangeable basin, its rim, and accompanying tray/lid can be stacked in different color combinations. The collection premieres at iSalone this week. novello.it

12 April 2016

Material Switch-Up

Mixing marble and smoky glass, the Bespoke vanity makes a suave entrance at iSalone this week. While combining opacity and transparency in a single unit has been done before, the application protocol has been upended by designer Carlo Colombo; usually it's the sink that's glass, not the cabinet. antoniolupi.it

11 April 2016

Cultured Kitchen

Premiering this week in Milan at Eurocucina, the Miuccia kitchen is a rather debonair combination of grooved midnight blue cabinets and marble counters sitting atop sled-like metal bases that are finished in rose gold. To me, the luxe design by Ruadelpapavero Creative Studio can trace its aesthetic lineage back to both art deco and the Memphis movements. tmitalia.com

07 April 2016

Really Cool Colors

Well, this is certainly a vivid answer to the oft-asked question, What comes after stainless steel. Just in time for Eurocucina, the homely FAB 28 fridge has been gussied up by none other than Dolce & Gabbana in a limited edition of 100 handpainted appliances. The price tag—about $33,500—might possibly put a chill on your enthusiasm. smeg.com

06 April 2016

An Organic Oeuvre, Day 3

Seven years ago, Zaha Hadid designed this sculptural faucet. It is frankly massive, and cedes no ground to any other element in the kitchen. Entirely hand-finished, the fabrication process was—to put in mildly—labor intensive. It was, I believe, a labor of love for the late architect. triflowconcepts.com

05 April 2016

An Organic Oeuvre, Day 2

At the Hotel Puerta America in Madrid, the bathrooms were designed by Zaha Hadid. Yes, there's a certain resemblance to the fluid forms of Gaudi, but the absence of color creates a far different effect. Posthumously, it is starkly empty.

04 April 2016

An Organic Oeuvre

Some view the so-called signature aesthetic as an easy creative path, a process more repetitious than it is refining. The late architect Zaha Hadid found satisfaction in exploring parametric forms at all scales, from the design of shoes to soccer stadiums. This kitchen, fabricated of Corian solid surfacing, displays the characteristic swooping style that brought her acclaim around the world.

30 March 2016

Making a Mark

Incised subtle patterns accent the taps and the spigot of the new Pinna Paletta collection of bath fittings. Designed by Laura Kirar, it's offered in several rather luxe-looking finishes. There's a complementary family, Pure Paletta, that omits the embellishments. kallista.com

29 March 2016

A Light Touch

Thanks to integrated induction burners, this sleek piece—which will debut at next month's Eurocucina at Salone del Mobile in Milan—is both appliance and table. As the linchpin of the Air kitchen, the delicate unit forms the basis for what I'd call a new take on minimalism, one that emphasizes the immaterial. Air is designed by Daniele Lago. lago.it

28 March 2016

Kitchen [in] Sync

In her furniture designs for Knoll and Moroso, as well as this Salinas kitchen, it's possible to see the way Patricia Urquiola works to camouflage modularity with a cunning sense of proportion. She inflates edges, making them thick and rounded. I like how this studied clunkiness complements the natural material palette. boffi.com

22 March 2016

Rock Solid

The Belgian sensibility revolves around beauty and strength. Designed by architects in Antwerp, this blue stone basin embodies both. Vrede. themenos.be

21 March 2016

Taking Form

Part Easter egg, part snowball—the island in this kitchen offers an unlikely parallel to our first full day of spring, which dawned to an unwelcome dusting of the white stuff. In actuality, the island is crafted of Corian, a material that's recently taken a back seat to distressed woods. Trends aside, I've always been a fan of the polymer's workability; it's a rewarding medium for those who are most at home when creating an irregular third dimension. cochranedesign.com

16 March 2016

Test[ing] Pattern

I must be subconsciously preoccupied with floors these days; this is the second post in as many weeks on the subject. Adopting the marbleizing technique that's traditionally used to create the endpapers in fine books, these wooden planks sport somewhat unpredictable patterns in a variety of color palettes. Installed in parquet layouts or straight runs, they'll certainly add zip to a room. snedkerstudio.dk

15 March 2016

Disruptive Design

Such an unexpected, appealing mix of styles—industrial meets chinoiserie. Here, it's gold that ties the two aesthetics together. I like the look. It recalls a time when eclecticism reigned, but this time around, the level of quality isn't so haphazard as before. londonbasincompany.com

14 March 2016

Cloudy Cabinets

The shadowy storage in this kitchen is a close approximation of the weather on this March day: tenaciously overcast, to the point of negating the extra hour of daylight we just picked up courtesy of EDT. Architect Jean Nouvel achieves this effect by using translucent Corian as the door panels in the Lumieres kitchen design. ernestomeda.it

08 March 2016

Flowing Flooring

The sinuous stripes formed by the Wave flooring may trigger a double-take from those who are more accustomed to the straight and narrow in underfoot. Made of European Oak, the planks are offered in a palette of subdued colors, such as this combination of grey and blue. Alternating boards with glossy and matte finishes adds another layer of interest to the already striking look. coraparquet.it

07 March 2016

Springing Ahead

The crocus are already popping up, and in a week, daylight savings time returns—before you know it, the house arrest known as winter will be over and we'll be dining alfresco again. Designed by Piero Lissoni, the Open kitchen is fabricated for outdoor use. Plumbing, gas, and electrical lines are routed through a central protective stainless steel panel, and the large shelves are made of weatherproof wire glass. Take the Open indoors, and a dishwasher module can be incorporated in the array of appliances. boffi.com

03 March 2016

Bathing Beautiful

Such a stoic tub, the Lacrima is. Sitting forthrightly upon a pair of blocky supports, its modest yet distinctive well is formed out of a matte-finished matrix of acrylic and quartz. Neither flashy nor generic in design, I admire its adaptability. alternativebathrooms.com

02 March 2016

Big Basin

There are vessel sinks—and then there are Vessel Sinks. The Catina model manages to be simultaneously over-the-top [in its size] and understated [in its form]. Personally, I like the statement-making presence it brings to the bath, a room that has recently been a little too quiet, design-wise, for my liking. disegnoceramica.net

01 March 2016

Water Wise

Ikea isn't all about Billy bookcases and futons. At last year's Salone design fair in Milan, I attended the retailer's impressive investigation into the future of the kitchen. More recently, it has launched a R&D facility in Copenhagen, called Space 10, where ideas for domestic design for all parts of the home are being explored. One project, the Cloud Burst, features a control knob that glows red when the bather has exceeded the recommended time allotted for a shower. In these increasingly water-stressed times, it's a concept worth exploring. space10.io

29 February 2016

Design Duel

Here's a curiously compelling kitchen. Cabinets with a tinge of mid-century modern gracing a Shakeresque interior: who knew? I suspect that the stylistic convergence might be a bit jarring if the space was smaller; the expansiveness of the setting gives the eye plenty of room to roam. devolkitchens.co.uk

25 February 2016

Behind Closed Door

Such a simple idea, so well executed! What makes it a standout—in my opinion—is the vertical divider on the exposed side of the cabinet. The easy way to treat it would have been to slap a piece of wood of the same thickness as the other interior shelves into the opening. Instead, care was taken, and a thinner panel was used, and set back from the outer perimeter of the unit. copatlife.it

24 February 2016

Treading Lightly

We happen to be in the final phases of a rather extensive bathroom remodeling. Part of that project is a resilient floor. While our design does not include a walk-in shower, I can nonetheless attest to the pleasure of having something soft and warm underfoot rather than hard, cold tile. This brand new product, a cushy shower floor that's pre-sloped to facilitate drainage, is something I'll definitely keep in mind for our next bath upgrade. solidsoft-tray.com

22 February 2016

Resolving Differences

We live in confusing, confounding times. From the presidential campaign with its off-kilter choices [thankfully, these are contracting after every primary vote; a big buh-bye to !] to the tortured seasonal transition [warm one day, freezing the next], change is constant. Even though this kitchen exhibits both a mainstream choice in materials and an iconoclastic taste in lighting, I think it is a stimulating design. pierreyonavitch.com

17 February 2016

A Cultured Sense of Calm

The way light and line unite in this bath is mighty conducive to relaxation, wouldn't you say? No grout lines crisscrossing the surfaces, a soothing horizontal orientation, and a gentle glow add up to one sweet retreat. arkham.it

15 February 2016

We Interrupt this Blog...

...to share some news. Yours truly has won the 2016 KBIS Outstanding Media Award! I am humbled and happy to be a part of the kitchen and bath community, and all the creative, dedicated people who inhabit it. And it's always been a true pleasure to share my experiences with you, dear readers.

Out of the Shadows

Lots of sub-freezing cold, some snow, and not much sun here on this Presidents Day...and the current storm of political gloom compounds the darkness. This kitchen does demonstrate that even a glimmer of light—as captured by the carefully mitered cabinet door—can rescue a design. I like how the cabinet drops down from a coordinated ceiling panel. uda.it

11 February 2016

Progressive Palette

When—or if—we tire of our lovely all-grey kitchens, this design offers a low-commitment exit strategy. Not only does the parquet-inspired pattern comprise a chromatic jumping-off point for just about any color scheme imaginable, it does so in a fun and focused way. [And it would be simple to revert to the original scheme, should you choose.] camillearchitectures.com

10 February 2016

Discordant Design

Examined individually, several of the elements in this bath don't quite fit. The taps and vanity are an odd couple, and the light fixtures pair well only with one another. There's an art to eclecticism, and this design proves it needn't be an in-your-face collage of contrasts. francissultana.com 

09 February 2016

Natural Forms

Designed and handcrafted by Northern California architect Alex Miller, the Aurora lav set certainly evidences a strong organic influence. Its flowing forms are at once birdlike, wavelike, and even cloudlike. And if you check out the reflection of the faucet in the mirror, you might even recognize a resemblance to a sea creature, the graceful manta ray. alexmillerstudio.com

08 February 2016

The Kindest Cut

Should you find this photo of the Cut kitchen intriguing, I hope you'll take the time to watch the video that documents the design of the space and its furnishings. A motion picture is really the best way to appreciate the room, as so many of its elements—a counter/table, the bands of shelving over the island, and more—swivel, swing, and otherwise activate. The film features the kitchen's designer, architect Alessandro Isola, who provides a fascinating narrative during the tour of the room.

05 February 2016

Kick-Off Time

Might someone please explain how the 'first' occurrence of anything can be considered 'classic'? I thought not. But let's put grammar aside on this Super Bowl 50 weekend, and pay tribute to the short-lived Refrigerator Bowl, which was held in Evansville, Indiana from 1948 through 1956. The inaugural game pitted the hometown Purple Aces [the eventual victors] against the Missouri Valley Vikings. Contemplating the program for that contest, I'm intrigued by the rays of energy emitted by the fridge—are they defensive or offensive forces?

04 February 2016

Branching Out

Trees in winter. Winter trees in tile. There's something very appropriate about the cold medium of ceramic depicting scenes from the bleak season. I find the coloration and decoration of this large format tile to be profoundly expressive. stonehollowtile.com

03 February 2016

Hidden in Plain Sight

Touch-latches open and close the storage compartments of the b3 backsplash, which is a handsome combination of creative design and practical space planning. Organizing everything from spice jars to carving knives to cleaning supplies, the modular unit can be expanded as needed. The doors are fronted in glass, sleek and easy to clean. bulthaup.de

02 February 2016

Clever Cooking

While I like the idea of sous vide cooking, the practice—simmering vacuum-packed food at a precise temperature—is frankly a turn-off. Who wants a cauldron of hot water occupying the cooktop on a routine basis? Using the steam oven to complete the cooking process is so much easier. A big danke to the engineers behind this ultra efficient [and tidy] Swiss system, which includes a built-in vacuum-sealing drawer. vzug.com

01 February 2016

Hole-istic Design

A most curious kitchen, this. All those portals in the cabinet doors remind me that tomorrow is Groundhog Day; they bear an admittedly far-fetched resemblance to openings of burrows. I'm going to predict that ol' Punxsutawny Phil won't see his shadow, and that spring will be here before we know it. architectureatlarge.com

21 January 2016

A Gripping Design

Designed by architects Roberto Lucci and Paolo Orlandini, the Time kitchen displays an unusual mix of curving and canted lines, and a lovely materiality, to boot. The drawer handles have an aeronautical grace to their drooping profile that I find very original. The modular proportion of the countertop thickness is carried through the cabinetry—another intelligent touch. snaidero.com

20 January 2016

An Unexpected Elegance

While this covetable collection of kitchen and bath fittings is indeed called 'MY', don't mistake that for a possessive. The designation is designer Michael Young's initials. With a hand-finished mirror polish, the futurist forms invite touching. jougor.com

19 January 2016

A Warm Welcome

Just in time for our first [and hopefully last] significant snow storm of the season, this expandable sauna quite literally pops onto the scene. When 'closed', the cabinet is slightly less than two feet deep. Push a button, and the enclosure automatically telescopes out about six feet from the wall, the heater and bench seating also sliding into place. The S1 sauna is portable, so if you decamp from frigid climes to a merely bone-chilling location, the unit can move with you. klafs.com

18 January 2016

A Bright Outlook

An appropriate kitchen design for a day that's cold, but not completely overcast. The imperfect but brilliant brass island gives the room a glow, though the concrete-grey cabinets tamp that down pretty thoroughly. All in all, a lovely space that's both old [in light] and new [in geometry].  richardlindvall.com

Some may have noticed my posts have been less not quite regular for the past couple weeks. After six years of daily entries, I did indulge in a few days off over the holidays. The break was great...and I'm back!

05 January 2016

In With the New, Day 2

Talk about priming the pump: Christmas has barely faded from memory, and the vaunted Consumer Electronics Show opens today. An estimated 20,000 new products will be introduced at the expo, with more than a few targeting the kitchen. Perhaps next year, MK1 will be there: it's a highly dexterous—graceful, even—pair of robotic arms that employs 20 motors and 129 sensors to mimic the movements of a skilled cook. The plan is to offer this automated helper as part of a kitchen set-up that's equipped with appliances that have been specially designed to work with the 'bot. moley.com

04 January 2016

In With the New

Let's start 2016 with an open mind, shall we? In the spirit of the new year, I'm going to focus on product concepts this week.

Designed by Carina Deuschl, the Xtend bathtub is both space-saving and portable. A collapsible carbon-fiber frame supports a padded textile liner. Making its debut at the imm Cologne show this month, the tub is a thought-provoking commentary on craftsmanship and the transient nature of life. carina-deuschl.com